Lesnaya pesnya (1963)

aka Song of the Forest
Article 4409 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 1-1-2014
Directed by Viktor Ivchenko
Featuring Raisa Nedashkovskaya, M. Sidorchuk, Pyotr Vesklyarov
Country: Soviet Union
What it is: Romantic fantasy

A water nymph falls in love with a country boy, but she finds she cannot fit into his world and loses him to another woman. Tragedy follows in its wake.

Here’s another movie for which I had no English subtitles or dubbing; my copy is in Russian. However, this being a fairy tale-type fantasy, it lends itself to being told visually, and along with the help of a plot description I found in “The Motion Picture Guide”, I was more or less able to follow it. It certainly has that sense of magic beauty I associate with fairy tales, and there’s plenty of fantastic content and characters. It is also, sadly, fairly slow to get going; it seems as if the entire first half of the movie deals with the romance of the two main characters, and it gets a little dull. It’s not until the nymph tries to fit in to the young man’s world that the story really gets going. It’s not as wild as some other Russian fantasies I’ve seen (JACK FROST, for instance), but I think it’s trying for a different effect; it’s something of a tear-jerker, and the ending is very bittersweet. Still, when it works, it is quite effective, and it’s nice to have been able to watch a movie in a foreign language that didn’t leave me scratching my head.

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