Life in Latvia, Junk Shop at the End of the World

A middle aged couple come back from the supermarket. His gutโ€™s hanging over his tracksuit bottoms, necking a can of strong beer.

A pigeon flies over the trees that cover up rows on rows of 10 story tower blocks, Soviet era. Clapped-out 1970s Russian sedan parked on the pavement.

Stubbing a cigarette, the door downstairs chimes as an old Russian lady fumbles inside, shopping bags bulging.

Earlier this morning, a postman came by with a bag full of promotional leaflets marked U.S. Mail. People still carry around those old plastic bags branded with American cigarette company logos, and my wife tells me these were hot stuff back when the Russians hated the Americans and her step-dad was locked up for wearing Nike trainers as capitalist contraband.…   [continue reading]

The Grim Soviet Magic of Vinni Pukh (Russian Winnie the Pooh)

Hear the writers discuss this subject on the Secret Cave Podcast!

Note: when talking about the American version, I’m referring to the 1966 Disney film. When talking about the Russian Winnie the Pooh, I mean the 1977 adaptation of Milne’s book byย Soyuzmultfilm. Both animations cover the same stories, chapters one and two of the book (the Russian version also covers chapter three).

Fyodor Khitrukย โ€” the director of Vinni Pukh โ€” reveredย A.A. Milne’s original work.ย He compared it to the literature of Tolstoy, and said it’s always hard to approach something so well done and change it so it will resonate as well with a Russian audience as it did with an American one.…   [continue reading]