Снегу́рочка (The Snow Maiden) is a well-known Russian fairy tale that has been rewritten in many versions, from operas to films. For example, one version details of how two old couples (which couldn't have children), made a daughter out of snow and the snow daughter came to life. (To read more about this version, visit this link: http://clover.slavic.pitt.edu/tales/snow_maiden.html)
The other heard and decided to watch was based on a Russian Soviet animated film from 1952. The film was directed and produced by Иван Иванов-Вано (Ivan Ivanov-Vano). The animated film was adopted from the opera (which made me wonder if the author of this version of the opera was Nokolai Rimsky-Korsakov or Aleksandr Ostrovsky).
(summary plus spoiler)
The film begins when Spring and Frost (mystical beings) had a small talk of how they should let their Snegurochka, their daughter, live. Should they let her live with humans or let her live forever alone, and trapped in the forest? Making their final decision Frost calls his daughter. Snergurochka comes. Frost and Spring asked their daughter if she'd love to live among the humans. Snegurchoka, with such joy replied yes--she had always wanted to live with humans, and especially, be close to her beloved Shepard Lel. For she had loved how the Shepard Lel sang his song and have heard that he was the most handsome man. Frost was shocked and worried for his daughter safety--so he asked the goblins of the forest to watch over her (for he feared that the humans will hurt and destroy his daughter's cold being). So, Snegurchoka left the forest and have decided to live with two old couple. The months have passed, the land still had this long, unusal winter and Snegurchoka still couldnt get used to living with humans. But she didn't mind, for she liked how Lel sang his songs. In the film, Lel had tried attempting to woo Snegurchoka but, with her cold expression and emotion, she gave up and wooed other womens. This had made Snegurchoka feel uneasy. Then, Kupava and Mizugir appeared into the scene--the two are meant to wed and yet, Mizugir fell in love with Snegurchoka. Kupava fell into despair, wanting to kill herself, Lel stopped her--telling her that no one as pretty as she is, needs to die and he advised her to see the Tsar of the land. Before Kupava appeared to the Tsar, the Tsar and his friend had a talk of how the land had less spring and sun--they believed that the land was cursed by something. Then Kupava appeared before the Tsar and told her of how her husband has betrayed her and that Snegurchoka was to blame. The Tsar then summoned all the villagers and Mizugir. Asking, in front of the entire whole village, if he betrayed his wife Mizugir replied yes. With that, he was exiled--however, before the punishment can be decreed on him, Snegurchoka came into the palace. Looking at all the paintings on the wall with awe, the Tsar approached the girl and had asked if she had ever been in love. And because she is a Snow Maiden who has no heart, she replied no. With a reply like that, the Tsar had commanded anyone who'd show Snegurchoka love. Mizugir and Lel accepted the proposal. However, Lel had no interest in Snegurchoka anymore, he had fallen for Kupava. Snegurchoka was devisated and in pain, running away, she called her mother Spring. Spring came. Snegurchoka asked her mother to give her a heart. Spring said no at first but, hearing her daughter's plea, Spring then bestowed Snegurchoka a flower diadem that soon gave her a heart. Snegurchoka was filled with many emotions--such as happiness, love. Spring told her daughter that the first human man she'll see, she'll fall in love with and her that she must not appear in front of the Sun (or Sun God) or else she would melt. Snegurchoka understood--and who appeared before her was Mizugir. The two of them fell in love and Snegurchoka told Mizugir that she wanted to be married. So the two of them went back to the Tsar and in front of the whole village, told the Tsar that the wished to married. The Tsar accepted. Suddenly, as the Tsar proclaimed their marriage final, the Sun appeared. Snegurchoka with such joy and happiness melted. Mizugir was so devistated that he jumped off a cliff and chose death just so he can be with her. The whole village, Lel, and the Tsar were in shock. But, they did not mourn for their death, instead, they all sang and were glad that the cold days had ended.
The film was very tragic. I believed that Snegurchoka did love Lel but was unaware of how love can be expressed in many ways. Lel was just a player who didn't care for Snegurchoka. Mizugir was a hopeless man who I think was the one who cared for Snegurchoka the most--he loved her so much that he died just to be with her...but it makes me wonder if he actually loved her or if he was obessed with her. As for Kupava, she was just an innocent victim and bystander. As for Snegurchoka's death, I would've liked to know and see how Spring and Frost felt when they heard that their only daughter died.
I'd recommed anyone to see this movie, it was pretty good (links down here have English Subs, but be warned, sometimes the subs get repeated accidently--this is a technology error the user didn't fix).
The Snow Maiden (animated film 1952) Part 1
The Snow Maiden (animated film 1952) Part 2