Tale of Tales by Yuriy Norstein (ENGLISH SUBTITLES)


“Soyuzmultfilm” Film Studio (Russian traditional lullaby) Lullaby, lullaby, don’t lie on the edge of your bed. A little wolf will come and grasp you. He will grasp you and drag you to the forest under a brittle willow bush. TALE OF TALES (old Russian romance/tango, was popular during 1930s) (-gramophone glitch-) (-gramophone glitch-) (Soldiers) (Triangle letters from the battle front) (Postman knocking on the window) Notification Your husband faithful to military honour / was buried courage and valour was badly wounded died from wounds (Fireworks celebrating the end of the War) Notification Your husband …socialist… heroism and courage… faithful soldier… died… was wounded died of wounds (A glass of vodka and a slice of black bread — Russian tradition of commemoration of the dead:>>they are put “for the soul of the deceased one” and noone touches them) Your son Your brother (brittle willow bush) Lullaby, lullaby Don’t… Lullaby, lullaby don’t lie on the border of your bed. A little wolf will come… (sigh) and grasp you! He’ll grasp you and drag you to the forest under a brittle willow bush. Lullaby, lullaby, don’t lie on the border of your bed A little wolf will come and grasp you and drag you to the forest under a brittle willow bush.

23 thoughts on “Tale of Tales by Yuriy Norstein (ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

  1. the memory sequence from 5:55 to 9:00 always makes me cry. The use of the tango 'burnt by the sun', the gramophone glitch and the letters from the front really makes one realize the enormous sense of loss in the war.

    This film is a form of national catharsis, not least for the millions of Soviet women destined for lonely spinsterhood because of the war.

  2. Thank you for the video! How nice that anyone can see this now. Very thoughtful of you to put notes explaining things us non-Russians wouldn't understand.

  3. In watching Russian cinema I often perceive a sense of doom felt by these people, something deeply connected to their history and from which they cannot escape. Not just a matter of war, it seems to be a more shifty and powerful ghost lurking in their mind.

    Thank you for uploading this video, I did not know Norstein at all.

  4. Alexandra Pryakhina: thanks for the subtitles and clues. I doubt it is so, but the artist figure reminds me of Prokofiev, and the bull reminds me of Where The Wild Things Are. Are either of those even possible (never mind likely). And then, more persuasively, the boy in the snow with the apple and the birds–the imagery reminds me of a similar passage in Tarkovsky's Mirror, which seems (is?) modeled after a painting. So, is Norstein (or, rather, Petrushevskaya) referring to the painting as well, if not Mirror. [BY the way, I know the artist is supposed to be, strictly speaking, a poet, but he still also seems musical to me: the lyre notwithstanding!.]

    In any case, the film owes much to Mirror, in the best possible way. (Mirror, by the way, is my #1 movie of forever.)

    Thanks again for posting.

  5. Watched the whole thing, realized I didn't turn the subtitles on. Oops.
    Guess I'll watch it again properly tomorrow. Beautiful imagery.

  6. The title is taken from a poem of our famous poet Nazim Hikmet. The image of poet, tree and cat can be seen as inspirations drawn from this poem and I also believe it influenced the theme of the animation (the general theme/s besides the obvious references to Russian history) but in order not to channel anyone into a certain interpretation I will keep my opinion to myself. In case anyone wants to read:

    Tale of Tales

    We stand at the source,
    the plane tree and I.
    Our images reflect
    off the river.
    The water-dazzle
    lights up the plane tree and me.

    We stand at the source,
    the plane tree, me, and the cat.
    Our images reflect
    off the river.
    The water-dazzle
    lights up. the plane tree, me, and the cat.

    We stand at the source,
    the plane tree, me, the cat, and the sun.
    Our images reflect
    off the river.
    The water-dazzle
    lights up the plane tree, me, the cat, and the sun.

    We stand at the source,
    the plane tree, me, the cat, the sun, and our lives.
    Our images reflect
    off the river.
    The water-dazzle
    lights up the plane tree, me, the cat, the sun, and our lives.

    We stand at the source.
    The cat will be the first to go,
    its image in the water will dissolve.
    Then I will go,
    my image in the water will dissolve.
    Then the plane tree will go,
    its image in the water will dissolve.
    Then the river will go,
    the sun alone remaining,
    and then it, too, will go.

    We stand at the source,
    the plane tree, me, the cat, the sun, and our lives.
    The water is cool
    the plane tree is huge
    I am writing a poem
    the cat is dozing
    the sun is warm
    Thank God we live.
    The water-dazzle
    lights up the plane tree, me, the cat, the sun, and our lives.

    Nazim Hikmet

    *Instead of "Thank God" he actually wrote something like "Thankfully", as an atheist.

  7. In a university library, I once read that the wolf's face and design were inspired by a dead kitten Norstein found. It was described as "already crossed over…it's quite dead…" and a picture of its frozen stare was shown. I broke down and cried, startling the other students.
    Seeing the wolf's face makes me cry again.

  8. Saw the revival review in the 3/18/19 New Yorker and viewed "Tale of Tales" today for the first time, 40 years on.
    Looked into the pictured triangle letters and found they were folded that way by Soviet soldiers, and recipients immediately knew when they received one that their loved one was still alive. (Paper shortages and the ease for state censors to view them made them popular.)

  9. Hayao Miyazaki or Isao Takahata is definitely a good animation director. But Yuri Norstein is a genius. From Japan.

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