Archive for the 'Russian Cinema' Category

Skazka Skazok

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

Tale of Tales (1978) is a special film. Among its many strengths, I’m particularly amazed by its unique visual style. It is quite unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Yuri Norstein animated the film by shooting images placed on glass planes stacked on top of each other. By doing so, he achieves the effect of giving 2 dimensional images a layered 3 dimensional depth. The clip provided above is one of my favorite moments in the film. In this scene, a petit and mysterious wolf explores the lawn of an abandoned home. You can clearly see the multiple layers of bushes, mist and falling leaves working together to create this stunning scene.

The story is quite ambiguous, images are laced with nuances of meaning, but nothing is ever explicitly clear. You are left with scattered meanings which can only be put together as you discover the film’s themes. Personally, I find that the film’s ambiguity is what makes Tale of Tales so engaging. It is the lack of explicit meaning that draws the viewer’s imagination. The more you think about the film, the more the film is able to affect you. While the beauty of the images mesmerizes you, the vagueness of the film will captivate your mind.

If you must, the film is available on a certain Youtube. But I highly recommend purchasing Yuri Norstein’s complete works dvd if you want to experience the true beauty of this film.