All of this talk about tradition and heritage this week brings to mind several distinctive efforts to preserve traditional folktales around the world.
A take on the tale of the Russian witch Baba Yaga. Made in 2007, it has many interesting visual motifs. I think of
Coraline and A Nightmare Before Christmas a little as I watch this.
Not so much a folktale as an interpretation of the classic William Blake poem "The Tyger," it's well worth a look. Guilherme Marcondes of Brazil created this work, blending puppetry, illustration, photography and CGI.
What I applaud for this take is that it is not a mere regurgitation of text, juxtaposed with image, but an interpretation. One that evokes the poem within its many dimensions, adding greatly, without overwhelming to the point of parody. One does not need to be familiar with "The Tyger" to appreciate this example, but a familiarity deepens our engagement with it. I would not say Marcondes poem is inherently 'superior' to the text- and in this restraint, I would praise it as a fine corollary to Blake's poem.
Nye Noona recently made a wonderful effort with Mr. Akkasith to preserve some of the traditional Lao folktales like those of Xieng Miang:
www.xiengmieng.com was another effort to preserve the stories of Xieng Mieng. I'm looking forward to seeing further development on these projects.
Around 2006, there were indications that an animated Hmong folktale about the Frog and the Tiger had progressed significantly, under the direction of Cheng Xeng Vue of Morganton, North Carolina. Unfortunately, the web domain for the studio he created, Split Horn Studios has expired.
If anyone has any new information about it, I'd love to know.