After finding his immortal beloved (Vasilisa, who periodically assumes the form of a talking frog), Prince Alex sets out to free her from the curse. A timeless hero's journey ensues, stylized with a post-modern spin. The camera lilts and soars as in the greatest musicals, a thumping techno-bass score lends a club atmosphere to the world of the film, an anthropomorphic Giant Panda frolics with glee, and all the inhabitants of the kingdom speak in a dazed, over-emoted, word-by-single-word sluggishness. Think "The Princess Bride" meets Baz Luhrmann's "Romeo + Juliet."
I saw this eye-popping film at the 2001 Sarasota Film Festival. I entered the theater without expectations, having chosen the film randomly. From shot one, my jaw dropped slack and my eyes waxed wide. "Vasilisa" is a gorgeously filmed, brilliantly scripted, boldly acted, confidently directed, lushly designed masterpiece of unseen cinema.
Woe that it never found distribution! It didn't even appear on IMDb for years. The movie was produced in Russia (and, I believe, in Germany), but is entirely English-language. To any distributors or potential distributors out there: PICK UP THIS FILM. (And give me a finder's fee!)
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