The Stone Flower

Alexander Ptushko, a pioneer of special effects in the Soviet cinema, adapted a folk tale from the Ural Mountains in this 1946 film, the first Russian feature in color. A young master stone carver who's obsessed with his craft is in love with a village girl, but on their wedding day he's tempted by a mystical goddess into visiting her underground cavern studded with enormous stones waiting to be carved. The story's tidy moral holds little interest for Ptushko, who put his imagination to work depicting the elusive goddess and her fantastical realm. Many of his visuals look rudimentary now, adding to the tale's naive tone, but the painterly interiors and the folk songs and dances are a lovely surprise. In Russian with subtitles. 83 min.

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