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also known as Istoriya odnoĭ kukly

Tale of a Toy1984

  • 3.8
The perspective of this animated film is unquestionably nationalistic but it’s not every Soviet propaganda piece that quotes Ivan Turgenev and offers such a mournful picture of violence. A prisoner in a concentration camp fashions a Don Quixote figure who takes up the charge against Nazism (this knight-errant tilts at windmills in the shape of Swastikas). Encompassing puppetry, live action and archival still photographs, TALES OF A TOY contemplates historical events as disparate as the Spanish Civil War and the 1973 military coup in Chile. The film’s poetic evocations of the Nazi concentration camps merit comparison with Alain Resnais’ NIGHT AND FOG.

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Tale of a Toy is an incredibly powerful short. I was very moved at the end. This is not Soviet propaganda. I was old enough in 1984 to be able to say that old-time Soviet propaganda was quite dead. However, this short film is powerfully anti-fascist. Tale of a Toy is not didactic; it is poetic. This is a must-see.