Synopsis by Andrea LeVasseur
Skazka Skazok (Tale of Tales) is a 27-minute animated short film, considered the masterpiece of influential Russian animator Yuri Norstein. Told in a non-narrative style by free association, the film employs various techniques including puppets, cut-outs, and traditional cell animation. Using classical music and '30s jazz tunes instead of dialogue, it's a mood piece based on the Russian lullaby roughly translated, "Go to sleep, or the little wolf will carry you away into the woods." The little wolf is the only reoccurring character and he does end up carrying a crying baby through the woods. The rest of the highly symbolic images are constructed to resemble what Norstein calls a "visual memory," using images from his own memories. Traveling trains, falling snow and leaves, abandoned cars, and dancing couples all come into play. Picasso's Minotaur, Alexander Pushkin's literary characters, and other figures from history and art interact on a two-dimensional plane. One particular scene involves a little boy eating an apple in the snow. He tries to share his apple with some crows, but his drunken father drags him away. Tale of Tales was named "the best animated film of all time" by the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Arts Festival and was made available in the U.S. on the DVD Masters of Russian Animation from Jove Films.
High Artistic Quality