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Time Time10 mins
LanguageRussian
The Battle of Kherzenets
Сеча при Керженце

The animation is based on a legend about the Invisible City of Kitezh which was reputed to have disappeared under the waters of Lake Svetloyar to escape an attack by the Mongols. This medieval folk tale was turned into a 4-act opera by Rimsky-Korsakov in 1907 and the music and legend were combined into an animation using stop motion animation. Yuri Norstein and Ivan BIvanov-Vano use precious Russian frescoes and paintings from the 14th–16th centuries to mix myth and reality.

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Leonard Bacica
Leonard Bacica
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.
5/10
Awards and Festivals
Prize
Award Laurel
1971
Best Animated Film,
VII IFF in Karlovy Vary
Grand Prix
Award Laurel
1972
Animafest Zagreb
Prize
Award Laurel
1972
Best Animated Film,
All-Union Film Festival, Tbilisi
Grand Prix
Award Laurel
1973
IFF Animated Films, New York
Cast and Crew