Thursday, February 19, 2009


(1954, USSR, 63m)
d/p Sergei Parajanov, Yakov Bazelyan sc Yemelian Bukov ph Suren Shakhbazyan, Vadim Vereshchak pd Viktor Nikitin, Oleg Stepanenko m Igor Shamo, G. Tirceu cast Giuli Chokhonelidze, Konstantin Russu, Nodar Shashik-ogly, Lyudmilla Sokolova, K. Stirbu, Yevgeni Yereke, Dominika Dariyenko, R. Klyavin, Trifon Gruzon

Expanded from Parajanov and Bazelyn’s Moldovian Fairy Tales diploma film, this has plucky little shepherd Andriesh journeying to the evil sorceror’s castle to rescue his flock, his faithful dog and the girlfriend of people’s hero Voisovan, assisted by talking trees, a giant and a flying horse, all to the accompaniment of a stridently Soviet (ie over-emphatic) score. With only the lyrical opening actually shot out on the steppes, the weird sets and light of the studio render the special effects acceptably charming, coming off like a low-rent Russian Thief of Baghdad. Prajanov described it as expressing “an absence of experience, craftsmanship and good taste”, but it’s no less enjoyable for that, even if one cannot help but feel that Andriesh is rather cheated by the denouement.

© Time Out Film Guide

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