If you can imagine a pastel creature, a moon milk maiden who rests perched on the edge of the sea, heavy for legs and the human dream, one may only experience the little mermaid, Rusalochka, in their sleep, because well, mermaids aren’t real? Right? Amiright? Yeah right.
A film based from the fairy tale of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid fostered the 1976 Russian adaptation, Rusalochka, directed by Vladimir Bychkov. This translation visually performs the innocence one embodies when lived between fiction and reality. A feeling like that one time mouthing “elephant shoe” in kidhood gave you butterflies and power. In other words, the underworld vs. the land, loving without limits but possessed by life’s spell in following one’s heart. AWE! If only we all could do so as gracefully. Sea foam green hair would help.
The mermaid’s attention dances within the frame of the prince’s eyes after having saved him from drowning, and is willing to trade anything to experience the prince as a human, though he is under the conceit that land princess is bae. This touchingly simple story line captivates its viewers through an ethereal like lens, thoughtful of composition and color compatibility. For pre-movie feels one might linger on surreal paintings like Dali's "Argus", Magritte's "Dangerous Liaisons" and "Howland's "Ecstatica II". And don't forget the tunes! Songs like "Divers", Joanna Newsome, "Diana" by Tasseomancy and "If I Were Same But Different" by Vashti Bunyan are sure to take you into a Bychkov-esque dreamland.
Enchantingly so Vladimir Bychkov offered a soft glow with his lighting choice and production design in Rusalochka. The camera focuses on the mermaid’s straightforward, selfless human nature through close-up, nonthreatening angles. When she speaks, she only speaks truth and it rings with chimes. (Like, literally when she speaks little bells ring.) Tempting right? The mermaid chooses to embody the curse of her painful steps that the witch has placed upon her in trading of a human heart, and she still dances in-between the harping of pain and grace among land existence. Hmm, no good feels here? There is a happy ending - the full movie is available on YouTube. It's free, unlike Rusalochka, but lovely just the same.