Posts Tagged ‘Russian’

God and Satan debate: Who will get the soul of the hard-working carpenter Kuzma after he is struck dead by a poorly aimed bolt of lightning that God had intended for the Devil? God wins the first round of arguments for the soul of Kuzma. Up he goes to heaven, but soon enough Kuzma is getting in trouble and not able to enjoy simple pleasures (he wants some booty and a smoke. What’s so bad about that?)

Literally bored as hell, Kuzma starts stirring up trouble so that’s where he goes, to hell. At first things are fine and dandy down under, but quickly the orgy of drink and ugly women gets old – plus ugly booty can only go so far. Eventually Kuzma escapes back to the living world with a pig-boy, who becomes a boy-boy upon exiting hell, and restores a burnt village, where he finds happiness (booty and drink).

The end.

The above is my attempt at a synopsis of the 18 minute short “Neither God Nor the Devil,” a Russian stop motion film from 1964. Now watch it yourself and tell me what you think.

There are more than 900 videos from the animation studio Soyuzmultfilma (which made Ни богу, ни черту) featured on a YouTube channel here.
Some of my favorites are: Daughter of the Sun, Ball of Yarn and Geese Swans.


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January/February is the season when Europeans go crazy for semi-annual sales! People spending hard-earned money on unneeded goods – mostly clothes in my experience – because they’re cheap.

I have avoided most of the crowds and haven’t set foot in a single shop advertising sales. In fact, apart from groceries there have been relatively few purchases in the Parsons-Beason household. I am guilty of influencing the purchase of a Blaise Cendrars collection – a wonderful little (1124 pages) book with his poems, novels and memoirs.

However, I indulged (though technically avoiding the sales).

Saturday afternoon after not doing much, I strapped on my backpack and made my way to Emmaüs. For the uninitiated, Emmaüs is a wonderful organization founded in France in the 1949 by a priest named Abbé Pierre. Their goal is to help out those less fortunate. In most cities in France there are large collection/commercial sites where people donate goods and they are then refurbished and resold by the Emmaüs group.

I went to the Emmaüs located in Charenton, a small suburb to the south of Paris. It takes about 45 mintues door to door. Once there, my normal path through the 3-story building – and now exterior bookshop is like this:

First floor/Ground floor
1. Housewares – dishes, cutlery, appliances, cookery
2. Furniture – sofas, shelving, tables, chairs
3. Electronics/Appliances – computers, microwaves, stereos, CDs, cameras

Second floor
1. Toys, records, art

Third floor
1. Clothes – seasonal
2. Linens – kitchen, bedroom, fabric

This is a book paradise! 1 Euro per book for hardcovers and 2 for 1 Euro for paperbacks.
My reason for going was just to take a look around and maybe a lamp or book would catch my eye for a few euros. Oh how wrong I was.

Within 3 minutes I found a huge collection of classical CDs. In an attempt to become more culturally literate, I have begun listening to classical music – I am currently into Rameau, Saint-Saens, etc. I found two CDs that seemed interesting – Berlioz’s Harold in Italy and Dvořák’s Symphony #9 In E Minor. My eyes moved from the CDs to an old leather camera case with cyrillic print on the top shelf. I pulled it down. It was in nearly perfect condition. There wasn’t even a coat of dust around the viewfinder. I opened the back of the camera and a roll of film was still inside.

It had to be mine! Just behind where the camera had been sitting was another case with the same cyrillic letters. I asked the Russian (yes, I know I’m in France!) working in the area how much the cameras are…10 euros. Then he showed me a third camera. I couldn’t pass them up.

In the end I left with an orange enameled iron pot, a 1960s turquoise travel typewriter, 1 book, 2 CDs and 3 Zenit cameras for 33 euros. It was the most fulfilling shopping experience I may have ever had.

This coming Friday, a friend and I will go on a Paris adventure to test the quality and performance of the 3 cameras. Hopefully the results will be FORMIDABLE (I will post the photos that turn out for all to see).

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