In medieval Russia, the Snow Maiden refuses to depart with Father Frost to Siberia for warmer months, lured as she is by the happy villagers enjoying a Shrovetide celebration in the snow. He agrees to let her enjoy spring with the villagers, but only after entrusting her safety to the “wood genies” of the forest, strange, moss-covered creatures who emerge from shrubs and swamp. In the village, the Snow Maiden falls under the thrall of an elderly couple in poverty who wishes to sell her beauty for a rich dowry. Though the frosty Snow Maiden cannot love, she quickly becomes attached to the young singer Lel, who is smitten with her, and whose songs she admires. When a rich merchant, Misghir, arrives (also singing) from upriver, he quickly scorns his fiancée Kupava for the Snow Maiden. Tsar Berendey tells Misghir that he cannot have the girl unless she returns his affections, but the merchant only frightens the snow-spirit; at one point Misghir becomes so desperate in his obsession for the unobtainable Snow Maiden that he nearly rapes her. Lel, meanwhile, falls in love with Kupava, and the Snow Maiden, despairing, turns to her mother, Spring, to learn the gift of love. In doing so – as the old folktale goes – she melts away, seen here in a symbolic shot of the maiden dissolving in a beam of sunlight. Misghir dies of grief.
DVD-r is in Russian with switchable English, Spanish, French and German subtitles. Approx. 88 mins. See film sample for audio and video quality!