It's no THE ASCENT, but then is it fair to make such a comparison? I was surprised by this movie. About a quarter in I had almost written it off and figured it was a dud. But the closer it got to the end, the more I managed to see the masterful way Shepitko tells this simple story of someone searching for meaning past their "big moment" in life. A great example of show-don't-tell done right, where much of the story is told in actions and interpretation. A delight.
A not-to-be-discounted Norstein! I especially enjoyed how colorful the animation was compared to many of his more popular films. While the plot is intrinsically basic and repetitive because of the folk story it adapts, it marries gorgeous animation with lighthearted storytelling.
Can't wait to show this to my niece someday to prove to her that violence is always the answer!
The plot felt ridiculously contrived, the characters were barely developed, most of the dialogue felt forced, many of its aspects have been done over and over and it didn't bring anything new to the table. Some of the technical aspects felt lazy: there was one specific scene where two characters were talking for 5 minutes or more and it just kept cutting to other person in the exact same type of shot each time that person said something.