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A Russian Artist...An American street corner..Life on a string

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Documentary | Short

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Release Date:

20 January 2004 (USA)  »

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$50,000 (estimated)
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1.33 : 1
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A Magical Man, Taken Too Soon.
19 July 2004 | by (Massachusetts, USA) – See all my reviews

I was lucky enough to see The Puppeteer on WGBH yesterday, and I am still thinking about it. Although I live within quick driving distance of Harvard Square, I had never before heard about Igor Fokin. This documentary is a wonderful and touching look into the life of a man who brought so much joy to people, simply through his talent and warm heart.

Igor Fokin was a puppeteer from Russia who came to America in the early 1990's. With his hand-made wooden puppets, and his skill as a puppeteer, Igor became a well-loved street performer in Harvard Square. The puppets themselves are works of art with a life and personality all their own, but combined with Igor's wonderful ability to make them interact with the crowd, and the charming Russian folk music he'd use as a background, his shows were mesmerizing.

In a world where children are so often glued to a television set, or playing on a video game consol, it is magical to see the children in this film so enchanted by Igor and his puppets. One small bird puppet runs from child to child to "eat" invisible seeds from their cupped hands, another old woman puppet runs around the stage area, sweeping up near people's feet and glancing at them with disdain. In one particularly beautiful sequence, a little redheaded girl reaches her hands out to a dancing clown puppet, and little by little takes it into her lap where she gently places her arms around it and leans her head against its head as if conversing quietly with a new friend. Igor's puppets truly came alive in his hands and the smile on his face when performing is heartwarming.

Igor comes across as so full of life, so passionate about the art of puppetry that it comes as a terrible shock when you learn that he tragically passed away at the young age of 36. It is a shame to think that a man who brought so many smiles to so many faces, should be taken from us so quickly.

Igor brought a small bit of magic to the world, and it's heartbreaking that he wasn't able to share his gift with more people on his short time on this earth. Luckily this documentary of his life, lets all of us see a little bit of the magic that he created. He will be missed by all those who he touched.


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