Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Russian Folklore, Inspired by CELESTIAL WIVES OF THE MEADOW MARI

We're beyond excited for tonight's premiere screening of The Celestial Wives of the Meadow Mari. Inspired by the Mari people, the film explores pagan folklore and culture. We got inspired ourselves to learn a little more about some of the most prominent characters in Russian folklore and have compiled them together in a handy-dandy list.

Probably just best to stay out of the woods, guys.

Baba-Yaga might be one of the most famous of Russian folklore characters. Sometimes she is portrayed as being so old and bent over, her nose nearly touches the floor. She is said to have iron teeth (you know, for eating people) and a long, long nose (uh, for smelling?). She's too cool for a broomstick and instead choses to travel on a mortar and pestle. (A broom is probably easier, but to each their own.) She has a hut in the middle of the woods surrounded by a fence of bones--part fantastic decorating (bone goes with everything) and part to scare away intruders. But don't worry--she isn't all bad. Sometimes she's actually helpful. Sometimes.

Hide your sisters, hide your wives, hide your daughters. 
Koschei the Deathless

You may be thinking to yourself, what's so bad about being deathless? Sure, Koschei can't be killed by normal means. That's awesome! Right? Well, Koeschei also has a habit of kidnapping heroes' wives and otherwise being a nuisance to women. Not cool! Except, in order to kill him, you have to find his soul, which he keeps separate from his body for safe keeping. Where is it? Oh, it's just inside a needle, which is in an egg. And that egg is inside a duck and the duck is inside a hare. And the hare is inside an iron chest. But just to make it even harder, that chest is buried under a tree. A tree on an island in the middle of the ocean, that is!

Seriously. We want our own Humpbacked Pony, please and thank you.

Konyok Gorbunok

Konyok Gorbunok or the Humpbacked Pony comes from a famous Russian poem of the same name, written in the early 1800s. Okay, it may not be as old as some other Russian folklore, but it's just as awesome. And plus, there's a pony. The story goes, Ivan the Fool is gifted a pony with two humps on his back and told that this pony will be a loyal and lifelong companion. Ivan is pretty stoked because he's always wanted a friend. He and the Humpback Pony end up going on a magical adventure together. Now we want our own Humpback Pony friend.

So effin' cute! Uh, we didn't mean to swear. HONEST.


A domovoi is a little house spirit. How cute, right? (We want one!) They're sometimes portrayed as being small and covered in hair all over and other sometimes have little horns. A domovoi is considered the guardian of the house and will often help out with tasks like laundry and cleaning. (We really want one!) He will do no evil unless provoked by an ill-kept house,profane language, or neglect. (Uh, that's okay. We don't need one after all.)

Totally just like The Little Mermaid for guys.

Because we know the dudes out there all dream about being a mermaid ("Mer-man! Mer-MAN!") as much as the ladies do, we'll end with the Vodyanoy, a male water spirit. Tales tell of him appearing as an old man with a greenish beard, long hair, and a body covered in fish scales, algae, and muck. That might not sound that scary, but he's been known to cause quite a bit of trouble when angered: breaking dams, washing out bridges, oh and drowning people. And if he isn't drowning people, he's dragging them down to his underwater dwelling to be his slaves.

We're hoping that you've been inspired by this little--so little!--taste of Russian folklore to get out there and do some reading on your own. Oh, and definitely check out Celestial Wives of the Meadow Mari.

  • Wednesday, Sept 11th, 7:00 PM TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX 4
  • Thursday, Sept 12th, 9:15 PM TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX 2
  • Saturday, Sept 14th, 9:30 AM SCOTIABANK 8

1 comment: