SUMMARY: A man is sent out by his wife to get a tree for New Year but gets sidelined by daydreams of wealth and power, and a strange encounter with a magic wand.
WHY IT’S HERE: Aleksandr Tatarskiy’s ‘Snow Was Falling Last Year’ is one of the most anarchic, unusual animated films I’ve ever come across. Taking to extremes the unusual, jumbled storytelling style of his earlier short ‘Plasticine Crow’, ‘Snow Was Falling Last Year’ opens with a brilliant sequence in which the narrator tries to find his story. As the camera pans from one character to another, the narrator tries again and again to begin a story about whichever character it is focused on, only to be defeated each time when the camera pans away. When he finally settles on a subject, the narrative refuses to settle down with him. Ostensibly about a man trying to chop down a pine tree for New Year, ‘Snow Was Falling Last Year’ keeps going off on tangents. No-one plays by the rules. When a caption appears indicating that the film has ended, the main character refuses to accept this and screws it up. When the narrator disappears from the action for some time, the protagonist asks where he has gone, at which point the narrator informs him that he has grown sick of him and given up. Perfectly paired with dazzling, appropriately fluid clay animation, ‘Snow Was Falling Last Year’ was so anarchic and strange that it fell foul of Russian censors who suspected it contained coded messages to foreign intelligence!