The Golden Snail: An Evening with Yuri Norstein

<em>Tale of Tales</em>, 1979

Friday, January 29, 2010, 7:00pm - 7:00pm

Introduction and interpretation by Professor Yuri Tsivian, Departments of Art History and Slavic Languages and Literatures, Comparative Literatures, and Cinema and Media Studies

THIS EVENT IS FULLY BOOKED. We are no longer taking reservations.  Ticket holders must claim tickets between 6:00 and  6:40pm on the evening of the event for reservation to be honored.

In a rare US appearance, legendary animator Yuri Norstein will present his award-winning short Tales of Tales, a masterfully crafted film of intense emotional resonance whose delicate and lyrical vignettes recall memories of war and childhood nostalgia. Following the screening, Norstein will discuss and demonstrate his technique in a live drawing session.

Yuri Norstein (b. 1941, Russia) is the most highly esteemed independent animation artist working today. From his directorial debut in 1971 with The Battle of the Kerzhenets, Norstein has been the recipient of international recognition winning awards at the Zagreb, Annecy, and Ottawa animation festivals. In 1984, an international panel of animation experts — The Olympiad of Animation — proclaimed Tale of Tales the best animated film “of all time.” In 1995 Norstein was awarded the Russian Independent Triumph Award, which acknowledges “the highest achievements in art and literature.”

Tale of Tales is Norstein’s effort to recall the events of war that occupy the very edge of his memory. Through masterfully built vignettes - lyrically nostalgic and imbued with a subtle sense of longing and loss - Norstein builds a landscape of intense emotional resonance. In the sequence imagining the huge losses Russia experienced in World War II, fleeting images of couples dance to the famous tango "Weary Sun." Each time the old record skips, one man disappears from the frame and the women dance alone. The lyrical visual poetry in Norstein’s work is synonymous with his craftsmanship. Norstein uses a technique in which two dimensional flat-art is shot on multiple glass planes – a painstaking frame by frame process employed less and less by modern animator as they turn toward digital image making. In opposition, every aspect of the imagery on screen in Norstein’s films is handcrafted. His refusal to use computers to speed the work earned him the nickname ‘the golden snail’ for his slow, ardent perfectionism and his current project The Overcoat is now into its 20th year of production.

(Yuri Norstein, Russia, 1979, 35mm)

Co-sponsored by the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures