April 12th, 2010

drawing, old man

How Brave Ivan Saved the Tsar's Daughter (1989)

Moscow-based Ecran studio made animated films from 1970 until 1995 and was the main competition for Soyuzmultfilm for most of that period. It was less disciplined, and was where many young directors went, causing the average age at Soyuzmultfilm to slowly rise. Its films are generally of lower quality, but there are some real gems among them. This is one of those.

Directed by Lidiya Surikova in 1989. It is based on the familiar story of dragon, princess and hero, but it is inspired heavily by Russian folk art. So the dragon is the 3-headed Zmey Gorynych, the hero is a brave peasant youth with a wooden sword, and the princess is the Tsar's daughter. Much of the film actually takes place within the designs of a traditional Russian distaff. Perhaps my favourite part is the "a capella" singing, composed by Boris Kiselyov, which accompanies everything.