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RUSLAN AND LUDMILA – Russian Fantasy Epic!
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RUSLAN AND LUDMILA – Russian Fantasy Epic!

RUSLAN AND LUDMILA – 1972, Mosfilm, 150 min. The final film from Russian fantasy master Aleksandr Ptushko (ILYA MUROMETS, SAMPO), RUSLAN AND LUDMILA was a glorious and magical summation of his career: a 2-1/2 hour greatest hits package filled with the sweeping lyricism, bejeweled visual F/X and mythic storytelling that put him on par with Walt Disney, Ray Harryhausen and Mario Bava. Based on an epic fairy tale written in 1820 by Alexander Pushkin (Ptushko had previously adapted Pushkin’s THE TALE OF TSAR SALTAN, and half-jokingly said they were related), the film opens with the seemingly-joyous marriage of bogatyr (warrior) Ruslan (Valeri Kozinets) to Ludmila (Natalya Petrova), the daughter of Prince Vladimir. (Like his earlier ILYA MUROMETS, the action of the film is set during the legendary era of the Kyivan Rus’ culture that pre-dated both modern Ukraine and Russia.) On their wedding night, Ludmila is spirited away by the long-bearded wizard Chernomor (Vladimir Fyodorov), and taken to his sinister palace where she’s held prisoner. On their epic quest to rescue her, Ruslan and his three rivals encounter some of Ptushko’s most unforgettable imagery: a giant’s monstrous, decapitated head slumbering on an open plain, magic rings and stone warriors, sorcery and sacrifice, all in the hope of reuniting lost lovers. Co-presented by occult collage artist and Bibliomancers owner/creator Astraleyes, a longtime champion of the film, this is the LA premiere of the gorgeous, new 4k restoration, restored by Mosfilm for release by Deaf Crocodile and Seagull Films! In Russian with English subtitles.