Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Natalia Malgina "Zina's Walk" (2004)

Sometimes one is taken by surprise. YouTube is a vast resource and for those not blessed with Russian the bare details and title in a strange alphabet is off-putting. This is why I rely on a number of distinguished channels of which pavlovich74 is the most prolific and one of the very best (1721 subscribers and growing - though would that the videos were all translated!!!.) The surprise is just how good is Zina's Walk, a movie that does not require translation, an utterly beguiling tale of children; and adults too. A little boy and girl inhabit facing apartments, each seemingly supervised by grandparents, each having widely different attitudes to the winter play engaged in by a group of lovely kids who do their best to entice the pair down from their window perches. There's no holding back the girl who is desperate to join in the fun. Trouble is grandma has so much preparation to do. Grandpa is simply unable to entice the studious boy away from his book. The pair do get out eventually of course, the girl in a state of unconfined excitement that contrasts so markedly with grandma and boy. And naturally the pair are destined to travel together. Zina's Walk, a marvellous short, is based on the poetry of Zinaida Gippius of whom I know nothing but will endeavour to find something. The drawing and animation is of the finest quality, sentimental and child orientated one might suppose. Perhaps not. The subtleties of the action might just be lost on the young - the interminable time taken by the woman to apply her make-up, the rotating pursed lips in vivid crimson, the upwards hoist of her bra and contents prior to donning her coat, the return just before we close to an earlier little girl first encountered attempting to place a constantly falling carrot from the face of the snowman. Director Natalia Malgina is a director of Moscow's Argus Film Studios, a joint Russian/German company. First rate work, magic characterisation, great music and song, classy, funny, a treat.

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