Netflix is getting pretty thin these days, so I’ve been scouring the YouTube and the rest of the web for other videos to watch. I found a treasure trove of Russian movies, some dubbed, some not. The best of those was Wolfhound of Greyhound Clan (Волкодав из рода Серых Псов) from 2007. Wolfhound is a Russian Conan, son of a blacksmith who forges magnificent blades who is enslaved after his father’s murder. Much revenging ensues. Wolfhound is not a musclebound idiot, which is refreshing, and the sets and costumes are very different from the medieval English and French we are used to. The princess’s outfit is stunning, as a matter of fact. Wolfhound is aided by “Ragged Wing,” his bat friend who adds a bit of weirdness to the story. It’s been a long time since I enjoyed a medieval fantasy this much. A long, long time! You can find the video on YouTube here, at least for a while.
The other one I enjoyed was Pilot Pirx’s Test (Test pilota Pirxa) from 1979, which was actually a Polish/Estonian/Ukranian production. The video has since disappeared from the web. It is based on Stanislav Lem’s Pirx series, and Lem’s estate seems to be protecting their copyrights vigorously. The film is about Pirx, a spaceship pilot hired to probe Cassina’s crevice (hmm. that didn’t come out right) in Saturn’s rings. His crew contains both human and “non-linear” (i.e. androids) personnel. The flight is intended to test the non-linears’ abilities before mass production, and also to see if Pirx can identify the non-human staff aboard his vessel. It is a smart movie. The special effects are not great, but the sets are done well. If you are a hard sf nut like me, this one is worth your time.
The last one I enjoyed was “Mystery of the Third Planet” (Тайна третьей планеты) from 1981, which is available at Google videos here right now. It is an animated story of the disappearance of two famous starship captains. It is aimed at kids, maybe 12 years old, but it is imaginative and there’s unusual fantasy elements that make it worthwhile. The starships look like they are from the 1950s, but the alien life is varied and occasionally fascinating. It’s simple but if you are desperate for something interesting, this one is short and fun.