There is a lot to be proud of when talking about our Slavic culture. Art, history [don’t put it in the same basket with today’s politics (or what has been left of politics), please], literature, cultural events, architecture, food and of course, mythology. And that, not only legends, myths and folk tales but their film adaptations, too. There is a plenty of literature work that has got its own screen version. The following movies are pieces of the Slavic cinematography based on fairy tales, folk tales and legends.
1. Ruslan and Ludmila (Rus: Русла́н и Людми́ла)
A Russian (Soviet) movie from 1972, inspired by Pushkin’s fairy tale poem with the same title. It is written and directed by Aleksandr Ptushko, the author of many other fairy-tale-inspired movies. The movie 9poem) tells the story of Ludmila and Ruslan, the daughter of Prince Vladimir of Kiev and the knight Ruslan who’s role is the salvation of beautiful Ludmila. She is abducted by the evil wizard (sorcerer) Chernomor on the day if her wedding, and Ruslan goes on an adventure where he fights with Chernomor, Naina and other sorcerers to save his beloved.
2. Little Otik (Cz: Otesánek)
Czech movie made in 2000 by the filmmaking couple Jan Švankmajer and Eva Švankmajerová. It is based on the folktale with the same name, written by Karel Jaromir Erben. The film tells a story of a childless couple, Karel and Bozhena who, after a vacation in the country side with their friends, decide to buy the house where they were staying. Karel digs up a tree stump that resembles a baby and his wife, stuck in sorrow because of their situation, starts to treat the tree stump like a real baby. Eventually, the “baby” becomes a real child and brings a lot of unexpected, unwanted and frightening situations. Amazing folktale with an even more shocking and dreadful screen adaptation.
3. The Hexer ( Pol: Wiedźmin)
The Witcher, is a 2001 Polish film based on the short stories written by the author Andrzej Sapkowski. The book is a collection of short fantasy stories which later got their video game and film versions. The filmmaker is Marek Brodski, who shows the story of Geralt of Rivia, the main character in all of the above-mentioned versions. The Witcher is also the famous video game with the same hero.
Yugoslav fantasy/adventure film made in 1950 year. The same is based on the Serbian folk tales, mostly “The Nine Peahens and the Golden Apples” and also takes as a character one villain from the Bash Chelik folk tale. The movie tells the story of a young hero who tries to catch the dangerous villain Bash Chelik (from Turkish, meaning “Head of Steel”).
5. Macedonian Folk Tales (Mac: Македонски Народни Приказни)
Collection of screen versions of the famous Macedonian folk tales, many of them collected by Marko Cepenkov. These TV episodes were made by TV Skopje, later MTV (Macedonian Television) from the early 70’s until the 90’s. So far, about 300 episodes have been made, all or most of them including the famous acting couple Gjorgji and Shenka Kolozova, then Goce Todorovski, Vladimir Angelovski, Lazar Barakov and others. My generation and many others have literally grown up watching these amazing stories and of course, learning their profound meanings.