Yuri Norstein and Tale of Tales, An Animator’s Journey by Clare Kitson. Indiana University Press, 2005.
Tale of Tales is a beautiful animated film by Yuri Norstein. This book by Clare Kitson is an in depth look at the making of the film, which examines many of the director’s influences. The book is filled with fascinating background material, photographs and conceptual work.
From Wikipedia: “Tale of Tales, like Tarkovsky’s Mirror, attempts to structure itself like a human memory. Memories are not recalled in neat chronological order; instead, they are recalled by the association of one thing with another, which means that any attempt to put memory on film cannot be told like a conventional narrative. The film is thus made up of a series of related sequences whose scenes are interspersed between each other. One of the primary themes involves war, with particular emphasis on the enormous losses the Soviet Union suffered on the Eastern Front during World War II. Several recurring characters and their interactions make up a large part of the film, such as the poet, the little girl and the bull, the little boy and the crows, the dancers and the soldiers, and especially the little grey wolf (Russian: се́ренький волчо́к, syeryenkiy volchok). Another symbol connecting nearly all of these different themes are green apples (which may symbolize life, hope, or potential). Yuriy Norshteyn wrote in Iskusstvo Kino magazine that the film is “about simple concepts that give you the strength to live.”