Terrible Vengeance (Страшная месть, 1987) by Mihail Titov

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Terrible Vengeance
Страшная месть
Страшна помста
Strashnaya mest (ru)
Strashna pomsta (uk)
Strašná pomsta (cs)
Una venganza terrible (es)
Strašna osveta (sr)

Year 1987
Director(s) Titov Mihail
Studio(s) Kievnauchfilm
Language(s) Russian
Genre(s) Literature (Rus./East Slavic)
War & battles
Animation Type(s)  Drawn (cel)
Length 00:19:52
Wordiness 4.48
Animator.ru profile Ru, En
362 visitors

Strashnaya mest.1987.cs.1.25fps-ru-version.1523386538.srt
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A Cossack weds a woman whose father is a foreign sorcerer who disapproves of their union. Based on Gogol's dark tale of betrayal and revenge.

The film seems to have been released in both Russian and Ukrainian. The first video above is the Russian (which seems to have better sound quality, particularly during the important musical scenes, and somewhat better colors), while the second is the Ukrainian (which has a much sharper image, newly scanned by the Dovzhenko Centre in 2022).

The original story by Gogol was written in Russian in 1832, and later translated into Ukrainian. But it is not so easy to discover when - possibly as early as the 1860s (when the first of his stories were translated into the language), and else as late as 1985.




Mykola Hohol's works are endless inspiration for Vietnamese writers in the 1980s, a time when Vietnam's politics - economy - society were in serious crisis. There is a novel that I really like : Land of Many People and Many Ghosts (Mảnh đất lắm người nhiều ma). Later, it was made into telefilm Land and People (Đất và người), which is also a film that I often rewatch to reflect on. The novel and film both try to show the context of rural Vietnam in the late 1980s, when the government eliminated subsidies and began dividing fields among farmers. Previously, due to pressure from the Soviet Union and the PR of China, fields and land are owned by the state, however everyone understands that the state is a very vague concept, there is even this proverb : Everybody's business is nobody's business (cha chung không ai khóc, "if a man has many children, then when he dies, they will not cry"). Vietnam's agriculture is inherently backward, and the territory is small with an overcrowded population, so the fields become a breeding ground for grass and insects, while farmers are still hungry and poor. The policy of dividing fields thus caused Vietnam to escape hunger in just two years and begin exporting rice - a commodity that previously had to depend on aid from the Soviet Union and a few other Eastern European countries. However, it continued to "give birth" another problem : Some persons with a high ownership mindset will seek to buy fields from men with low educational levels. This problem may be normal in America and Europe, where the land is very large and fertile, but it would be unstable in a territory so small as Northern Vietnam (its total area is only equal to Moskva oblast or Cyprus) but the population always grows too fast. When there are many fields, of course landlords will exert local political influence and make the country's politics become increasingly stagnant. Please note that these landlords basically only have primary or secondary education, they are actually still farmers in thinking, so their politics are tricks to gain benefits, not to make the country strong. That is why the communist government of Vietnam has applied very bloody punishments to all forms of secession like this. Actually, both sides are wrong, so Vietnam is still very slow in developing science and knowledge.

Therefore, the story of The Terrible Vengeance made me quickly understand the issues that Hohol wanted to talk about the condition of the Ukrainian nations in the 19th century. Film The Dancing Skeleton was also made in a similar Vietnamese social context, when fluctuations in world politics had quite complicated effects on the situation in Vietnam.





In the early 2000s, the revenge film genre seemed quite strong. Now I will list some typical Vietnamese films : Lunar New Year in Hell Village, Demon Dog, Lonely Man...

Actually, this is not my favorite film genre, because they only revolve around making enemies, and moreover, they have been exploited too much by previous Western and Wuxia films. However, they are quite suitable for industrial life, where many problems cannot be solved by negotiation or gentle advice. I can take an example from my own work at Wikipedia. Instead of negotiating, they will immediately use both power and numbers to oppress the weak. Obviously, when you have to live in an office environment, algorithms and meaningless orders, you always have the feeling of wanting to destroy everything to return to nature or childhood. All in all, we will have to discuss this topic a lot until the world of the office comes to an end.


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