Best Animated Film
All-Union Film Festival, Tbilisi
IFF Animated Films, New York
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Tame homage to a legendary past
This little animation film has documentary value for sure, and I imagine it was quite innovative for the era.
The use of Byzantine imagery in an animated movie is certainly interesting, though judged through the lens of today I wish it would have gone the innovative route all the way, including the narrative.
As it is, it's a tame short film paying homage to an imagined glorious past and trying hard not to upset anyone, not even the Mongols/Tatars, the go-to baddies of Russian culture.
In the age of HD mobile phone cameras, TikTok and filters though, even the 10 minutes required of the viewer seem like a push, Unless you're really into Rimsky-Korsakov, because the music is beautiful.
Too Short But Quite Sweet
As a big fan of Rimsky-Korsakov, the music really helped to shape the mood of the characterful story for me.
My only complaints would be in it's too short length: not only are we unable to hear much of Rimsky-Korsakov's 3 hour long "The Legend of The Invisible City of Kitezh" (well okay the whole opera might be a bit much for a light hearted animation, but 10 minutes barely sets the scene) but also, the plot of this short is not necessary the most obvious...This being said, the 10 minutes gives you brilliant colourful animation, and imaginative cinematography that overpowers the limitations of stop motion to create an emotive and immersive watch.