26 January 2019 | TheLittleSongbird
The tale of the magic fish
Lots of enjoyment has been gotten out of watching Russian films. Especially fantasy. Both five years ago, when going on a bit of a quest to help me through an intensive period of studying, and now when re-visiting the fond happy memories during a much calmer period. Watching the films has given me great pleasure and also educational, getting acquainted with these stories and helping me with my Russian learning. If one is wondering as to whether Russian is worth learning, my answer would be an easy and enthusiastic yes, although it is not an easy language to learn.
'By Pike' is for me one of the standouts of the "re-visiting" period if not one of my favourite Russian fantasies. It is still very entertaining and charming and with a lot in its favour. There are enough imaginative touches to set it apart and the atmosphere has a sense of wonder. 'By Pike' is another winner from Aleksandr Rou, and would go as far to say that it is one of his best and most accessible, the surrealism and bizarreness (do not mean this in a bad way) of some of his other work not being as much here.
A lot of 'By Pike' is lovingly shot in black and white and nicely designed with a good deal of atmosphere. The special effects, while not what one calls special, have a charm to them and are quite imaginatively used.
Music is lush and atmospheric and Rou directs with an assured touch that never gets too serious or farcical. The writing flowed enough and at least made sense, with the story actually pretty simple, not getting muddled, even with a good deal thrown in.
Liked the storytelling, which was fun and amiable with a sense of wonder and endearing quirkiness, handled very imaginatively. The characters are immensely colourful in personality and likeable. The acting is not the greatest but there was something oddly likeable in this respect and the roles are performed with a lot of spirit if not subtlety.
In conclusion, another great Soviet fantasy. 9/10 Bethany Cox