Chimera Song Mosaic
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
Something I left out before:

We were treated quite well, and--dare I say it?--warmly--on several occasions. One example is when Marisa and I attended an International Film Festival, Message to Man, at the historic Dom Kino theatre. The theatre itself is spectacular—-ornately carved boxes and balconies, cherubs on the ceiling, and soothing, mauve-colored walls, complementing the bright red velvet seats. We thought we understood the program for the evening to be short films from Russia, Germany, Poland, and elsewhere and were delighted to find that the admission was free, so we picked some seats in the back near the exit (in case the language barrier would prove too great) and watched the theatre fill with people. The event coordinator announced the program in Russian, then, in English. Then she asked if anyone would require English translation, and we sheepishly raised our hands-—we were the only two in the entire theater who did! When the films began, she came back and pulled up a chair next to us and translated during the shows! We couldn’t believe our good luck and were completely charmed by her generosity. Luckily, she didn’t have to work too hard, because the program was Russian animated film, much of which required no translation. The animation style was something entirely new for me—-lots of fuzzy, highly active impressions of figures in a watercolor palette-—but the mood of it seemed, at least to me, distinctly Russian. The films were light in character and content—-featuring rabbits, baby bears, couch-potato people or cheetahs as protagonists-—but all had a profundity and self-reflexity to them, a deep contemplativeness bordering on misanthropy. I dug it a lot.

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