Friday, 22 April 2011

Volkodav iz roda Serykh Psov - Wolfhound of the tribe of Grey Hounds

2007 Nikolay Lebedev

As a child Volkodav has to witness his father and pregnant mother and their whole tribe being massacred by an evil priest Zhadoba and his hench man, the man eater. Vokodav grow up as a slave in mines and his only goal is revenge. Zhadoba is a devotee of the goddess of Morana, who was imprisoned by the rulers of Galirad. Zhadoba needs goddess Morana to be back to ascertain his supremeness amongst the humans. For this he needs the blood of the princess of Galirad to be spilled on the key at the ancient shrine near the gates to heaven. Zhadoba is on a plan to attack Galirad to capture the princess. Vokodav manages to reach the castle of the Man eater and kill him. From here he also frees a slave woman and a blind sage with some special vision and healing powers. On the way back, he stops an attempt of Zhadoba to kidnap the princess. Promptly he is asked to accompany the princess to the Galirad and soon becomes the body guard of the princess. King of Galirad is wary of the attack of Zhadoba and in an attempt to bring in some peace has betrothed princess to the son of the Man eater. Princess has to go to the Man eaters castle and Volkodav travels with the party. There are cheaters amongst the princess entourage and they manage to drug Volkodav and this night Zhadoba attacks and kidnaps the princess. Volkodav follows, to the ancient shrine and rescues the princess and kills Zhadoba.

This story happens at a time when Gods walked among the humans and man wanted to be as powerful as the Gods. A beautiful story, like the ones we would love to hear from our grand parents, is made into a beautiful fantasy movie.

It is the settings of this movie that impressed me so much. Excellent. Especially the city of Galirad is being made to look like a city made of wooden logs, exactly how a tribal clan would have done it, is brilliantly set up. There is a kind of realistic feeling behind all these settings, without any gloss, and this is wonderful. There are beautiful shots of the landscapes and the low light scenes are excellent too. The ancient shrine at the gates to heavens is also a magnificient setting and I really doubt, Magadheera the Telugu movie has taken some inspiration from here.

The actress who played the princess, Oksana Akinshina, is lovely. Aleksandr Bukharov as Volkodav also impressed.

It was a real pity that I watch this movie on TV. This is a movie for the big screen. I had felt that the CG used was not brilliant towards the climax. But this could also be the effect of TV. This could have been grandeur on the big screen.

I must admit, I have never enjoyed the Lord of the rings or the Harry Potter kind of fantasy movies. I never understood the plot and always thought they were kind of computerised movies. Volkodav, I think, I would have enjoyed even without the subtitles. Because the story is simple and it is told in a simple way too. And the CG is never imposed on the viewer, except during the climax.

I was very curious about this movie and now I understand that this movie was made on a shoe string budget compared with the budget of similar fantasies from Hollywood. And this could be one reason why the director decided to picturise the movie in a kind of realistic settings mostly. But still the city of Galirad, the castle of Man eater and the ancient shrine settings , they all will hugely impress us.

When will Indians be able to watch main stream Russian movies in the theatre? Knowing that Magadheera became a huge hit in Andhra Pradesh, a movie like Volkodav will be a huge success in India.