Mary the Artisan
Alexander Rowe, 1960
Marya the Artisan fell victim to the nasty underwater king Vodokrut the Thirteenth. He did not know that you could not be lovely by force and took the poor woman captive so that she would embroider for his joy. The phrase “What will, what is bondage – all the same” has long become the motto of difficult days of life in our harsh country, only now you cannot count on some brave hero or heroine who, eating an onion, will deal with tyranny, you cannot count. In a fairy tale, according to all the rules, everything ends well: the son finds the kidnapped mother, the family reunites, and looking at the carnival and eerie inhabitants of the kingdom under the water column is kindly hilarious.
Kingdom of Crooked Mirrors
Alexander Rowe, 1963
In the Kingdom of Crooked Mirrors, the opposite is true: the names are topsy-turvy, and if the local mirrors reflect what, then it is definitely not what is in front of them. Little girl Olya and her looking-glass double Yalo, in an attempt to catch the escaped cat, accidentally organize a revolution. Mirror-maker Gurd, that is, Friend, is sentenced to death for refusing to obey the regime, so the accidental twins decide to save him. Singing a pioneer song, they solve all the problems – the enemies are humiliated and defeated, and Olya and the cat happily return home. In addition to the perky plot, it is also worth watching a fairy tale for the sake of beautiful colorful characters: a dictator-parrot or a minister-toad – and a simple, but always true morality.
Alexander Rowe, 1964
“Is the girl warm to you?” – the fate of the fairy tale character directly depends on the meekness of the answer to this question. You answer with ambition that, in fact, there is frost in the yard – it means that you are a negative hero and you will not get anything from Santa Claus for the New Year. However, it is much more exciting to look at Inna Churikova’s painted Marfusha, and not the amorphous Nastenka. The main character lives with the fate of Cinderella: she is offended by her sadistic stepmother, and then she is sent to die in the forest. All the heroes are saved here by the power of love: Ivanushka, who loves to pour in, turns from a bear back into a human being a good deed, and Nastenka, frozen by Grandfather Frost, is saved by Ivanushka in red boots. The film itself, according to rumors, was saved in some shorts by Millyar, who found himself in the building where the film was stored at the moment when the flood happened.
Aladdin’s magic lamp
Boris Rytsarev, 1967
Everything is calm in Baghdad – you need to repeat after the singing crowd like a mantra while watching. In winter, it is just worth seeing something about hot countries – a Soviet film adaptation based on one of the fairy tales from “A Thousand and One Nights” gets here. According to the director, Aladdin is not at all like Disney’s charming rogue: everything is different here – with a larger scale and less foolishness. The poor man finds a lamp where a not friendly, but quite frightening genie lives, rather like tongues of flame, while an evil Maghreb wizard is hunting him. The love story of Aladdin and the capricious princess Budur will be resolved well – but only after they learn the lessons of life.
Alexander Ptushko, 1946
Danila the Master as an example of a real workaholic who dies at work. His obsession with the secrets of the craft leads to the fact that the guy destroys personal happiness – everything will be corrected only by the end, when he realizes that there is nothing more important than living people. It is not money or fame that tempts him: like a real obsessive, he goes on an impossible task to the Mistress of the Copper Mountain to make a flower out of stone, indistinguishable from the real one. The screen version based on the collections of Bazhov, who recorded the legends of the Ural miners, fully conveys the spirit of the stories collected by the writer, and a setting that is atypical for a Russian fairy tale plays into her hands. Instead of Ivanushki-fools and bears, here is the personification of a mysterious stone and the forces of nature.
Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka
Alexander Rowe, 1961
Technically, this is the most Christmas movie – the action takes place on Christmas Eve. The adaptation of Gogol’s stories was only a matter of time: all the devilry is always very fun to watch, and even minimal special effects will do here. The Night Before Christmas, based on which Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka were filmed, contains all the elements of a real winter fairy tale: here and the supernatural, and flying under the moon, and a merry drunkenness of close friends, and snow outside the window. Rowe, of course, deliberately did not take the word “Christmas” in the title – at the time of filming, if it could be hinted at, it was only in a satirical context.
Konstantin Bromberg, 1982
A New Year’s fairy tale with songs and a little as if according to GOST, nevertheless every year it is warmly perceived by viewers from all over the post-Soviet space. For The Wizards, the Strugatsky brothers took the NIICHAVO invented by them, as if they had forgotten everything they had written before, and became unwitting accomplices in another dubious film adaptation of themselves – even the name of the institute was changed, all because the director did not like the original spirit of the story. If it were not for a conventional source in the form of their own works, everything would be fine – so in order to watch “The Wizards” you should forget that “Monday starts on Saturday” was once written, and without prejudice plunge into the Soviet realities of “real” wizards ready to present their colleagues with a magic wand.
Anatoly Granik, 1972
In addition to the cartoon, the favorite fairy tale of kindergarten teachers has a film version, which is very beautiful and without unnecessary long plans to the accompaniment of pathetic symphonic music. Marshak, altering the plot of the Czech writer, tells an instructive story that it is not in vain that a certain order of things has been established in the world, and that you cannot achieve anything good by rudeness and whims. Fans of going to Thailand will laugh at the first dogma in the face, and for all those who stay here for the winter, a film about why April cannot be in December will work like a sedative pill.
Finist – Clear Falcon
Gennady Vasiliev, 1975
In “Finista – Clear Sokol” truly titanic works came together: there is a whole layer of Slavic folklore, and the script of Rowe, who had died by the time of filming, and Shestakov’s play as the base material. The hero defending his native land here fades into the background: the tale turned out to be a very funny and even feminist view of the traditional plot. In Finiste, everyone is rescued by Alyonushka and the old cheerleaders, clearing the way first for the bewitched and then captured plowman, who must defeat the main villain, taking on the responsibility of defending Russia.
Koschei the Immortal
Alexander Rowe, 1944
The folk story about Koshchei came in handy during the filming: in the midst of World War II, Rowe shoots a spiritually uplifting black-and-white story for all ages about how a good fellow saves the beauty Marya Morevna from the evil Kashchei the Immortal. Watching black-and-white classics, where Millyar does not grimace at all and truly inspires horror, you can absolutely not draw any parallels with the salvation of the Russian land from the fascist invaders, but only as a dramatic story with fairy-tale elements about the eternal confrontation between good and evil.