Childhood Movies & Bits of Russian History

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 Heart, don’t fail me now
 Courage, don’t desert me
 Don’t turn back now that we’re here.

Really inspired, aren’t I?

Have I fallen into the deep pool of melancholy? Yes. Oh, and how I have, but it doesn’t bother me, not in the very least.

Because having rewatched “Anastasia” tonight, after so many years, has brought lots of things back on my mind and gave me an idea for today’s post. The one which was not, in fact, supposed to exist, due to my greatness.

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I was blunt in my way of explaining that title I wrote there and I’m just realizing it, but I am not going to press “Delete” because I want you to feel like you are listening to me rambling about one of the only coherent things left of my wondrous childhood. Which you basically are, after all.

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Ten years ago today ( I have no idea whether the date is the 19th of December or not, but it was cold outside and snow was falling hard and the house was warm and smelled of burnt earth, so I am just going to pretend, for better aesthetics, that it was the 19th of December.).

Ten years ago today – or something like that – my parents came home with a cassette. We used to have this machine in which we would introduce the cassettes and watch movies. Cartoons. “The Titanic” one million times. That time, it was “Anastasia”. People had come at our house for some sort of loud celebratory reunion, I have no idea what it was. But on the small screen of the voluminous TV we had back then, the tale of a lost Russian princess was taking form. And I remember how my father accidentally stepped on the small piano I had back then and how I couldn’t bring myself to care because it was cold outside and the translation to “Once Upon A December” has rhymes. I was haunted by this song. Sort of. I was haunted by the idea of musical box. I have been haunted, ever since, by how beautiful the name Anya sounds to my European ears and how wonderfully similar it is to my own name. I’ve pretended, for years and years, that my old plain Ana was short for Anastasia and I was the lost princess of some glistening kingdom.

Far away, long ago,
Glowing dim as an ember,
Things my heart
Used to know
,
Things it yearns to remember

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If you aren’t aware, this animated movie ( which is not a Disney one, for that matter ) is based onto the controversial death of the Romanov family , back in 1918, and the hypothesis that one of the five children of the family, the youngest daughter, Anastasia, might have survived the execution. This possibility, one of the most approached theories of the 20th century, was demonstrated to be false during the 70s.

The plot surrounds the journey of the true Anastasia, ten years after the Revolution, in 1926,struggling to find her family, as she couldn’t remember a thing about her past, Dimitri  – the kid who had saved her, during the revolution, from being taken by the Bolsheviks, along with her family, and the one and only love interest – and Vlad, a guy who used to be part of the Imperial Court, to Paris, where the mother of the Tsar, Empress Maria, had managed to escape. While adventurous and interesting, it needed a dark side, didn’t it? So we have the second component of the plot – Rasputin, the Russian monk whose legend is closely associated to the Romanov family, had cursed them, announcing their deaths – by managing to escape, Anastasia threw him in some sort of anti-place where he couldn’t actually reach his powers or the human world, but rather discomposed in a  very slow manner. So when he finds out he actually is alive and well, he decides to send his creepy green minions that actually look like some sort of fluorescent bats to kill her. They fail, obviously.

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I don’t want to make this a sum up of the movie, but rather a formulation of a question that has popped into my mind. A question that I feel the need to ask, but I don’t believe I can do it without offering you some historical background.

Meanwhile.

This is the full soundtrack of the movie, simply fantastic. Great. Wonderful. I suggest “Once Upon A December”, “Journey To The Past
” and “Prologue”.

Because, as much as I love this movie –  the characters, the graphics, the lines, the music, the atmosphere , the music again and again – it is terribly inaccurate to the Russian history. Terribly. An euphemism, almost disrespectfully regarding a matter which I have no idea how to approach, because I don’t know if Russians look upon this violent episode of their history with sorrow, or rather see it as a step in their development.

So. Historical context.

The last dynasty of rulers the Russian people had was the Romanov dynasty, Tsar Nikolai II, father of Great Duchess Anastasia, being the last Tsar Russia would ever have. He and his political system were to be violently removed in December 1916 by the Bolsheviks. Two years later, his whole family would be executed.

My question is, then –  is watching and making popular such historical – related works of fiction, that clearly diverge from a very crude and painful reality, romanticizing it greatly, a good thing?

Truth to be told, this movie was what would spark, years later, my interest in Romanov’s history. The reason for which I did quite some research and read some books and.

I’m going to stop here, I suppose, for I don’t feel in the position to talk about historical manners as if I have a great historical knowledge. I don’t. But these things passed through my mind while humming “Once Upon A December”.

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See you tomorrow.

Again, not literally see you .

 

 

 

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