Sunday, 4 September 2011

In Soviet Russia, animation is unique in style and criminally under appreciated

Hello all, Internet still abysmal but I was able to stumble upon an extensive list of animation made by are old Eastern adversaries . Its well worth a look for both fans of animation and Russophiles (even though a number of Soviet made animations were created throughout the SSR's and involved multi-ethnic teams from all over the Union). Of course for most young people the closest to Eastern animation they got to look at was that quite funny simpsons joke "Worker and Parasite" viewable above.

But seriously speaking while there budgets where much smaller then in America or Japan and they had to cut a number of corners -for example backgrounds remain mostly static- given productions made as late as the 1980's looking a bit dated, but there not without there strengths or charms. And many of which have been translated (subtitled) into English by fans from both sides of the old wall.

For example we have About Sidrov Vova (1985) a quite funny tale about a young man joining the Soviet Armed Forces.

Or the educational "I shall give you a star" a exploration of gender roles throughout the ages, told in four different vignettes of a man and woman falling in love at different points in time and seeing how married life turnout (spoiler alert, not great for the wife).

Then of course there is the famous 1982 Once upon a Dog often described as the best Soviet made animation ever and one that is still regularly re run on Russian television based on a Ukrainian folk tale, the director Eduard Nazarov was not himself Ukrainian but he did spend a few years studying rural life in the SSR as preparation for making Once Upon a Dog.

Though to be honest my personal favourite Soviet animation is the chilling 1984 adaptation of Ray Bradbury's There will Come Soft Rains, a story about an abandoned house after a Nuclear War. The excellent short story can be read here.

There will fall soft rains

This one was made by a studio in Uzbekistan and it is simply haunting, though the voice doesn't help. Though I think they probably should of changed the names of the former owners of the house "time for your prayers Mrs. Maclellen" just sounds clumsy in that voice.

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