Christmas with Starewicz

Noch pered Rozhdestvom (The Night Before Christmas)
R: Wladyslaw Starewicz. B: Wladyslaw Starewicz, based on Nikolai Gogol’s story. K: Wladyslaw Starewicz. D: Ivan Mozzhukhin, Olga Obolenskaya, Lidiya Tridenskaya. P: Khanzhonkov. RUS 1913
Engl. subtitles

Władysław Starewicz (1882 – 1965) was a Russian, Polish and French stop-motion animator notable as the author of the first puppet-animated film (i.e. The Beautiful Lukanida (1912)). He also used insects and other animals as protagonists of his films.(…)
In 1911, Starewicz moved to Moscow and began work with the film company of Aleksandr Khanzhonkov. There he made two dozen films, most of them puppet animations using dead animals. Of these, The Beautiful Leukanida (premiere – 1912), first puppet film with a plot inspired in the story of Agamenon and Menelas, earned international acclaim (one British reviewer was tricked into thinking the stars were live trained insects), while The Grasshopper and the Ant (1911) got Starewicz decorated by the czar. But the best-known film of this period, was Mest’ kinematograficheskogo operatora (Revenge of the Kinematograph Cameraman, aka The Cameraman’s Revenge) (1912), a cynical work about infidelity and jealousy among the insects. Some of the films made for Khanzhonkov feature live-action/animation interaction. In some cases, the live action consisted of footage of Starewicz’s daughter Irina. Particularly worthy of note is Starevich’s 41-minute 1913 film ‘The Night Before Christmas’, an adaptation of the Nikolai Gogol story of the same name. The 1913 film ‘Terrible Vengeance’ won the Gold Medal at an international festival in Milan in 1914, being just one of five films which won awards among 1005 contestants.”

Rozhdestvo obitateley lesa (The Insects’ Christmas)
R: Wladyslaw Starewicz. P: Khanzhonkov. RUS 1913

>>> Mest kinematograficheskogo operatora on this site: Wladyslaw Starewicz

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