Voices from Russia

Saturday, 16 June 2012

16 June 2012. Sergei Yolkin’s World. Shall It Go as Funtik Predicts?

Shall It Go as Funtik Predicts?

Sergei Yolkin

2012

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In his style of drawing the pig, Yolkin’s trying to bring to mind Piglet from the classic Sov multifilm, Vinni Pukh (that’s the Russian version of Winnie the Pooh… very different and MUCH better). In the cartoon, Piglet has two balloons for Vinni to choose… as we see here. It’s a piece of Russian “visual culture”.

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A tame boar named Funtik, who’s a favourite in the fan area of the UEFA Euro-2012 championship, makes predictions on matches. He indicates his predictions using corn on the cob, his absolutely favourite food.

15 June 2012

Sergei Yolkin

RIA-Novosti

http://eco.ria.ru/ecocartoon/20120615/673706678.html

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

9 May 2012. Sergei Yolkin’s World. It’s Not a Mutation… It’s Just an Ordinary Aardvark

Sergei Yolkin. It's Not a Mutation... It's Just an Ordinary Aardvark. 2012

It’s Not a Mutation… It’s Just an Ordinary Aardvark

Sergei Yolkin

2012

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To Russians, this would bring to mind the beloved multifilm character Vinni Pukh (the Russian Winnie the Pooh) and Piglet. That makes it twice as funny…

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Ksenia Ivanova, the head of the Department of Public Relations at the Yekaterinburg Zoo, told RIA-Novosti that they received the very first aardvark in Russia… a rare animal with the body of an anteater, the ears of a rabbit, the snout of a pig, and the tail of a kangaroo.

25 April 2012

Sergei Yolkin

RIA-Novosti

http://eco.ria.ru/ecocartoon/20120425/635220769.html

Monday, 26 March 2012

A Multimedia Presentation. A Short Guide to Russian and Soviet Cartoons

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Vinni Pukh Rules! American Cartoons are Turning Our Kids’ Brains to Mush!

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When most people think of Russian culture, the heavyweights of literature and classical music, such as Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Pyotr Tchaikovsky, usually spring to mind. However, Russia can also boast some major achievements in the field of children’s cartoons. Read and click on for a short… and by no means exhaustive… guide. The heyday of Soviet children’s cartoons was the late 1960s, when Soyuzmultfilm produced a host of warm and genuinely witty cartoons. Watching them before or after a Western-produced cartoon of the same period, Tom and Jerry for example, it’s striking and unarguable how much more manic and violent the “capitalist” cartoons are…

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Matroskin the Cat

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Troe iz Prostokvashino, or as some translations have it Three from Buttermilk Village, was the first cartoon I ever got into in Russia. Made in 1978, and based on a book by Soviet writer Eduard Uspensky, it tells the tale of a young lad who goes by the nickname of Uncle Fyodor. The ginger-haired kid leaves home with a vagrant cat, Matroskin, after his mother tells his father, “It’s either me or that cat… choose!” His father replies, “I choose you… I’ve known you for a long time and I’ve only just set eyes on that cat”. Along with a friendly, if dim, dog called Sharik they end up living in the aforementioned Buttermilk Village. Much of the cartoon’s sharp dialogue appeals as much to adults as to children and many phrases have become everyday expressions, such as:

  • “If I’d had a cat like that, I might not have got married”.
  • “You go out of your mind alone. It’s only the flu you suffer together”.

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Gena and Cheburashka on a greeting card for the 8 March (International Women’s Day) holiday

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Cheburashka is another cartoon based on an Eduard Uspensky book. First released in 1969, it tells the story of the eponymous hero… a strange and exotic creature that ends up in Moscow after falling asleep in a crate of oranges due for shipment to Russia. Once there, he makes the acquaintance of a crocodile called Gena who has been searching for friends by sticking notes around town saying, “Young crocodile looking for friends”. They have many adventures, a lot of which involve battles of wits with one Old Lady Shapoklyak, whose motto is, “You’ll never get famous by doing good”. Cheburashka is perhaps the most famous of all Soviet cartoons and enjoys cult status in Japan. He’s also been the symbol of the Russian Olympic team on three occasions.

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Vinni Pukh and Piglet

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Maugli

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Soviet cartoon makers were also keen on adapting foreign children’s tales, with A A Milne’s Winnie the Pooh and Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book being turned into Vinni Pukh and Maugli (Mowgli). The Soviet Vinni Pukh (also from 1969) bears little resemblance to the Disney version much better known in the West, being a darkish little bear with an oddly strident tone. Of course, he also loves honey and has a number of animal friends. The Soviet version lacks a Christopher Robin, though. Then again, its source was the books by Eduard Zakhoder, who insisted his Russian version of the Pooh stories were a retelling, rather than a mere translation. Check out the English language version in the above link. Maugli (1967-71) also differs wildly from the Disney animated musical and is, by far, a much darker affair, a lot closer to the original Kipling books. President-elect Vladimir Putin recently showed a fondness for Kipling when he described protesters against his rule as “Bandar-log”. “Come to me, Bandar-log”, he joked, taking on for a second the persona of the evil snake Kaa. Unlike in the West, no one in Russia needed an explanation of the origin of the phrase.

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Karlson

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Masha and the Bear

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Karlson (1968 and 1970) was a cartoon adaptation of the books by the Swedish author Astrid Lindgren, and it told the story of a jam-loving chubby guy who lived on the roof and made friends with a thoughtful kid who really wanted a puppy. Again, the cartoon appealed as much to adults as children. Modern-day Russia hasn’t seen quite the success of the 1960s and 1970s Soviet Union as far as cartoons go. Nevertheless, the recent Masha and the Bear series has proven popular with kids all across Russia and supplied perhaps the first genuinely-strong cartoon character here for years. The cartoons tell the story of an incredibly mischievous little girl and her friend, the Bear.

19 March 2012

Marc Bennetts

RIA-Novosti

http://en.rian.ru/columnists/20120319/172273179.html

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Russia’s Top 100 Animations Named

Vinni-Pukh rules. American animations are turning our kid’s brains to mush”

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Make sure that “cc” in the lower-right of the video box is enabled for the English-language subtitles. Click on the red link at the very end… let the first appearance of red links on the screen go through, when a link reappears, click on it to go to the next instalment…

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This isn’t named in the article, but Cats’ House is one of my personal fave multifilms… look to the right-hand side of the page for links to parts two and three.

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Although Japanese experts voted it the world’s all-time best animation, Hedgehog in the Fog came up second in a list of Russia’s “Golden Hundred” cartoons, giving way to Eduard Nazarov’s multifilm Once Upon a Dog. A Russian panel publicised their list at the opening of the 17th Open Russian Festival of Animated Film in Suzdal to mark the 100th anniversary of the Russian multifilm production. The Russian version of Винни-Пух (Vinni-Pukh: Winnie-the-Pooh) was named the third greatest cartoon. Yuri Norshtein’s masterpiece Hedgehog in the Fog won the top spot in the All Time Animation Best 150 in Japan and Worldwide in 2003, but it failed to top the recent list put together by Russian experts.

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A link to Part Two of this cartoon is on the right-hand side of the page

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I love the moral in this old Sov multifilm, it ridicules those who’re always running off for “new things from foreign parts”… like all too many in diaspora Russian Orthodoxy, no?

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RIA-Novosti reported that 100 Russian animation films directors, artists, and critics put the recent list together and that the full list featured 600 works. Boris Stepantsyov’s Karlsson-On-The-Roof and Aleksandr Tatarsky’s surreal Last Year’s Snow Was Falling, beloved by many generations of Russians, made the list, together with less-famous works. Fyodor Khitruk’s The Story of a Crime, which won a Golden Gate Award in San Francisco in 1962, also made it, although it clearly doesn’t enjoy as much popularity as Vladimir Popov’s Umka, a story of a polar cub. Back in 1996, Russian and Byelorussian animators launched the Open Russian Festival of Animated Film in Suzdal; it’s the only professional event in Russia for local animation professionals.

1 March 2012

Alina Lobzina

Moscow News

http://themoscownews.com/arts/20120301/189502053.html

Editor’s Note:

Russian animation flourished in the USSR… it hasn’t fared as well under “freedom”. I think that’s because “freedom” has become nothing but an excuse for greed and rapine. For all its faults (and it did have them), the Soviet system did teach against the selfish self-centred conceits of the Western Neoliberals… best embodied by the so-called “culture warriors” who advance the cause of soulless Multinational Corporate Dictatorship with the thinnest-possible veneer of “morality”. Be careful… those who scream the loudest about “morals” are those who advance the cause of community-destroying tradition-corrosive “free enterprise” (defined in a rather godless Ayn Rand-like manner) the most.

You can have cooperativeness… and good cartoons… or you can have selfish “me-first” “economic freedom”… and shitty cartoons. Interesting juxtaposition, no? One last thing… the Sov version of Winnie-the-Pooh was FAR more faithful to the original A A Milne version… tells you something about the “profit motive”, doesn’t it?

BMD

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