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In rural Russia, the days of Communism are fading from memory like fairytales

Set in the frigid, snow-swept landscape of northern Russia, Fairytale of the Three Bears features three rural men reflecting on the seismic shifts in Russian culture and economics following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Amid their musings on the days before capitalism took hold, they do their best to recall and recount the film’s titular fable. With shots of abandoned machinery in the white landscape set to the haunting refrains of Russian folk songs, the film is a poignant reflection on how eras gone by can fade from memory while myths endure.

Fairytale of the Three Bears by the UK filmmaker Tristan Daws debuted in 2014 as part of the awardwinning omnibus documentary Cinetrain: Russian Winter. An ambitious and inventive filmmaking initiative, the Cinetrain project sent 21 filmmakers from around the world to all corners of Russia to explore its culture through the spectrum of stereotypes – from mail-order brides and stalwart Ladas to heavy drinking. The project was inspired by the work of the influential Soviet Russian filmmaker Aleksandr Medvedkin (1900-89) who, in 1934, built a mobile film studio inside a train before setting out to document life across the country.

Director: Tristan Daws

Producers: Tanya Petrik, Guillaume Protsenko

7 February 2020

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