Friday, February 15, 2013

Rusalochka || 1968's Soviet-animated "The Little Mermaid"

Today being the day after Valentine's, I thought it fitting that I let you in on a new love of mine: The 1968 Soviet cartoon version of Hans Christian Andersen's, The Little Mermaid.


 Being previously almost completely ignorant of Russian film Soviet or otherwise, I instantly fell in love with the beautiful animation of Rusalochka (or Pусалочка to be precise) when I stumbled upon it a few months ago.

{warning: potential spoilers ahead}

This version has a lot going for it besides enchanting animation. 
Namely, it is not "Disney-fied".

Staying true to Andersen's original tale, this little mermaid is a ghostly, graceful, sea-nymph who makes a dangerous choice and succumbs to the consequences even in light of  possible "way out". Instead of risking it all to "get the guy", the heroine weighs the cost of love and eventually puts the happiness of others before her own.

 Its portrayal of the ever idolized "true love" is not the exuberant, musical one that most of us knew growing up. Instead, it is a haunting, and at parts downright somber, picture of a steadfast (even if initially impulsive) love that might have cost the mermaid her happiness in the end, but never her goodness.

This is a telling contrast to the much loved Disney version, which twists a very "me-centered" theme into the story: The ends will always justify the means as long as you are following you heart, right? 
And while some prefer their fairy-tales without moral overtones thank you very much, they really miss out on the richness of the very human themes within the original stories.

 1968's Rusalochka, a faithful retelling of Andersen's classic love story, proves that sometimes a quiet resignation in the face of a moral dilemma is a greater testament to love than a "no-holds-barred" approach filled with musical numbers and sassy side-kicks. 

 { .gifs via }

 And because of this {along with its gorgeous animation} it holds a special place in my own romantically-closeted heart. ;)


|| The original Russian version can be found here, and the English closed caption version  here. ||


Anonymous said...

is there an English version of this film and if so where can I find it?

Fondly, I said...

Hello there! I obtained my own un-dubbed and un-captioned version of the film through a soviet collectibles seller on eBay who was selling it in a cartoon compilation DVD. I just now did a quick look to see whether or not that seller was still selling those DVDs, but unfortunately I found that the seller is in fact no longer active on eBay at all. :( The best to you in your search though, and if all else fails remember there is still an English close-captioned version here via youtube: