The Three Bogatyrs

The Three Bogatyrs: The Princess of Shamakhi (Три богатыря и Шамаханская царица; also known as How Not to Rescue a Princess in English) is a Russian animated film from 2010, the fourth in the Bogatyr series from Melnitsa Studios.

The film starts out with the princess of Shamakhi (a city in present-day Azerbaijan) trying to find the source of eternal youth so she can restore her lost beauty. It turns out that she needs to collect the tears of a thousand beautiful maidens, but unfortunately she has exiled all the beautiful maidens from her kingdom. As a backup plan, she takes the advice of her handmaiden, a crow, and decides to marry the prince of Kyiv. The prince arrives in Shamakhi with his horse, Yuliy. The crow asks the princess to give her Yuliy’s hide as a wedding present—but Yuliy overhears this and starts trying to delay the wedding. He summons the bogatyrs, and wacky adventures ensue, all ending happily and without any horse-skinning, of course.

The film got decent reviews and ratings from audiences. It also won the 2012 Golden Eagle award for the best animated film. Reviewers focused on the entertainment potential of the film, not mentioning any cultural commentary the film might accidentally have made with its subject matter of an Azerbaijani princess putting evil enchantments on a Kievan Rus’an prince and a pivotal scene that involved a woman taking off a Muslim niqab to reveal horrors hidden beneath. Reviewers simply called the film amusing and thought it would appeal reasonably well to the adults who would have to watch it with their kids. Kinonews compared it to Aladdin, with the princess a sort of female Jafar and her raven corresponding to Iago. Overall, reviewers said that if you liked the previous three films, you’d like this one.

 

Watch the full movie, legally, on the official YouTube Channel of The Three Bogatyrs:

The Three Bogatyrs

Julie is currently studying Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk (and before that, Bishkek) with SRAS’s Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.