April 05, 2021

Tripping on Tolkien



Tripping on Tolkien
Gandalf with Bilbo. Screenshot from "Хранители / Часть 1" by Youtube channel Пятый канал Россия.

Are you a member of that rare breed who yearns to stumble on the magical intersection between Russophilia and kitschy nerd-dom? Or a fan of hairy fairy folk with mystical inclinations and a hint of пошлость (crass banality)? If so, then look no further!

Russia’s Channel Five recently published two episodes of a supposedly “lost” television show on YouTube. The series is based on “The Lord of the Rings” and was filmed at the Leningrad Television Studio in 1991. The show aired only once, but it has only now resurfaced, much to the delight of Russian Tolkien fans.

The series was based on a translation by Vladimir Muravyov and Andrey Kistyakovsky from the 1980s. Actor Viktor Kostetsky took the role of Gandalf, Georgy Shtil played Bilbo and Valery Dyachenko starred as Frodo.

Russian music aficionados, a little easter egg for you: the music was composed by Andrey "Dyusha" Romanov, a member of the Russian rock group Akvarium.

In addition, "The Fabulous Journey of Mr. Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit" based on the book "The Hobbit, or There and Back Again," was also shot at the Leningrad studio in 1985. You can watch this film on YouTube, too.

All episodes come highly recommended for their special Soviet flair – they just don’t do special effects like they used to...

hobbits fishing
Hobbits fishing. Screenshot from "Хранители / Часть 1"
by Youtube channel Пятый канал Россия.

 

 

In Search of Bards
  • January 01, 2009

In Search of Bards

To paraphrase Pushkin, "In Russia, a bard is much more than a bard." We look back at the bardic tradition (singer-songwriters) in Russian culture and find that not all is what it seems. Or, to paraphrase Pushkin again, "In Russia, a bard is often less than a bard."
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