director Aleksandr Rou
It’s hard to pinpoint every aspect of weirdness that Aleksandr Rou’s Morozko (Jack Frost) exudes. The brightly colored Soviet-era fantasy film is gaily produced, all-in with sincerity, telling a version of the Russian fairy tale “Morozko”, or “Father Frost”, about a put-upon step-daughter abandoned to the snow and taken in by the kindly ice king. The ruddy-cheeked Russians who populate the film and its tweak away from more well-known European fairy tales make it slightly off, but familiar.
The version available on Amazon Prime also featured a stutter in the soundtrack, off-synching the voices and subtitles. Like it needed further oddity.
Like all of Rou’s films, the art direction is very pleasing. Morozko starts with a young handsome egotist who is taught a lesson by a clever gnome by turning him into a bear-man until he learns his lesson. But the film really gets good when the young fellow, having been turned back into a fellow, goes to old witch Baba Yaga in her walking cabin (echoes of Howl’s Moving Castle, or maybe Howl’s Moving Castle echoes of it). She also employs an cadre of tree monsters and a sly black cat and pig sled.
And as often is the case, some acting bears. Here moving mushrooms around.
I dig this crazy biz.