Synopsis by Bruce Eder
In a series of strange encounters with the magical and the supernatural, a beautiful, abused girl named Nastenka, and Ivan, a strong, proud young man, find each other and fall in love. Nastenka lives in a tiny house on the edge of the forest, where her wicked stepmother treats her horribly while doting on her own fat, worthless daughter, whom she hopes to marry off to a wealthy family; Ivan, from another part of the forest, goes off seeking adventure, but he is too proud for his own good and must learn humility -- he does this with the help of a strange old man, who casts a spell on him giving him the head of a bear. He gets back his own face only after he performs a good deed for the sheer goodness of doing it, and is soon worthy of marrying Nastenka -- but first the two of them must overcome the evi lmachinations of a witch who tried to cook Ivan, and Nastenka's stepmother, who is still doing her best to thwart the girl's happiness. They get unexpected help from Father Frost, a St. Nicholas-like figure with his magic carriage and his icy staff.
girl, bear, good [quality], stepmother, witch