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Laughter and Grief by the White Sea (1987)

Smekh i gore u Bela morya (original title)
Several Russian Pomorsk men who live by the White Sea have brought in their boats for the evening and are relaxing inside a fisherman's hut. One of them says "there has been so much untruth... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Yuri Volyntsev
Anatoliy Barantsev
Boris Novikov
Mariya Vinogradova
Kira Smirnova
Tatyana Vasileva
Klara Rumyanova
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Storyline

Several Russian Pomorsk men who live by the White Sea have brought in their boats for the evening and are relaxing inside a fisherman's hut. One of them says "there has been so much untruth told about our region that it is time to set the record straight" and proceeds to tell a variety of outrageous tall tales (based on traditional folklore of the Russian north). As the evening gets later, the tales turn more serious. Written by Niffiwan

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1987 (Soviet Union)  »

Also Known As:

Смех и горе у Бела моря  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first six stories, without the introductory and connecting sequences, were previously released in three separate films (in 1977, 1979 and 1986). The last story, "Ivan and Adrian", was also released as a separate short film in 1987 under the name "Pomorskaya Byl". "Eternal Icebergs" and "Frozen Songs" were also released separately at this time, even though they had been part of previous films. See more »

Connections

Edited from Volshebnoe koltso (1979) See more »

Soundtracks

Severnye zvony
Written and Performed by Ivan Danilov
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User Reviews

 
One of the funniest and most fulfilling films I've seen.
13 June 2007 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

This film has an ingenious structure - it begins with an old Pomor seaman telling tales in a little fisherman's cabin to his few companions. The place is somewhere near Arkhangelsk, in the far north of Russia by the White Sea. The time is indeterminate - partly in the past, partly in the "present" (anachronistic touches abound). The tales which he tells were originally written down by folklorists and writers Boris Shergin and Stepan Pisakhov at the beginning of the 20th century.

This is some really well-written stuff. What's more, it is absolutely hilarious. Our narrator speaks in a colourful northern Russian dialect which is very difficult to translate well into another language. He describes ridiculous stories about the "daily lives" of the villagers living in Russia's far north. For example: the daily run of the "icebergers"; people who harvest icebergs. The penguins who come up north to make some money in the off-season. The bear who sneaks into their village to sell kvass.

As the evening grows late, the stories become a little more serious... and the last story of the night is incredibly moving, far more than what you would expect. By the time the film is over, it becomes clear that it is not simply a funny collection of tales, but a veritable masterpiece. Everything comes together to an extremely satisfying conclusion.

The animation in the film is on a tighter budget than a typical western feature film, but the skill level of the artists shines through. The character animation in particular is very good, and the background art is typical of Russian folk illustrations.

Overall, this is an excellent film. Watch it if you can find it anywhere!


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