Vladislav Starevich

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Vladislav Starevich (Lithuania, 1882), who lived when Lithuania was part of Russia, moved to Moscow and joined Aleksandr Khanzhonkov's production company in 1911. There he directed the first puppet-animated film, Prekrasnaya Lyukanida/ The Beautiful Leukanida (1912), inspired by the legend of Agamemnon and Menelaus, and especially Mest' Kinematograficheskogo Operatora/ The Cameraman's Revenge (1912), an early example of cinema within cinema, followed by Strekoza i Muravey/ The Grasshopper and the Ant (1913), from a fairy tale by Ivan Krylov (the first Russian film to be shown in London and Paris), and Strashnaya mest/ Terrible Vengeance (1913). He mixed live-action and animation in films such as the 41-minute Noch Pered Rozhdestvom/ The Night Before Christmas (1913), an adaptation of the Nikolai Gogol's story. He also adapted stories by Pushkin and Ostrovski. When World War I started, he made Pasynok Marsa/ Mars's Stepson (1914), a satire of Germany.

After the Russian Revolution of 1917, he moved to Italy and then to France, where he changed his name to Ladislas Starevich. He made Dans les Griffes de l'Araignee/ In The Claws of the Spider (1920 but premiered only in 1924), Le Mariage de Babylas/ Babylas' Wedding (1921), L'Epouvantail/ The Scarecrow (1921), Les Grenouilles qui Demandent un Roi/ Frogland and The Frogs Who Wanted a King (1922), Amour Noir et Blanc/ Love in Black and White (1923), 12-minute La Voix du Rossignol/ The Voice of the Nightingale (1923), La Petite Chateuse des Rues/ The Little Street Singer (1924), 20-minute Les Yeux du Dragon/ The Eyes of the Dragon (1925), 10-minute Le Rat des Villes et le Rat des Champs/ The Town Rat and the Country Rat (1926), 30-minute L'Horloge Magique/ The Magical Clock (1928), La Petite Parade/ The Little Parade (1928), from an Andersen fairy tale, the 65-minute film Le Roman de Renard/ The Tale of the Fox (1929, to which sound was added in 1937), based on the medieval collection of tales, followed by his masterpiece Fetiche Mascotte/ The Mascot (1934), originally 38-minute long but then cut down to 26 minutes, with the sequels Fetiche Prestidigitateur (1934), Fetiche se Marie (1935), Fetiche en Voyage de Noces (1936) and Fetiche chez les Sirenes (1937). He couldn't work during World War II. Zanzabelle a` Paris (1947) was his first collaboration with writer Sonika Bo. Starevich's first colour film was the 23-minute Fleur de Fougere/ Fern Flower (1949). He adapted more Sonika Bo stories in Gazouilly Petit Oiseau (1953) and Un Dimanche de Gazouillis/ Gazouillis's Sunday picnic (1955). His last films were Un Nez au Vent/ Nose to Wind (1956) and Carrousel Boreal (1958). He died in 1965.

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