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Comment on Cat and Fox (2004)

I find it interesting to compare this one to Galina Barinova's 1981 Cat Catafeyevich, the same story but told rather differently (with more pathos and somewhat less slapstick). I think both of them are excellent films, with different strengths.

Comment on The Nightingale (1991)

Although quite a good adaptation in many spots, I think that the parts of the original text that were changed or left out for (I assume) brevity were actually quite important, and the story loses something by not having them in there. In particular, the Emperor's final dialogue with the nightingale and its final words to him, as well as the story of the mechanical bird (which in the story is a lot more impressive and has a much bigger impact than the one in this film).

I think that the creators maybe didn't feel that those things were important, with which I have to disagree.

Comment on The Adventures of Munchausen: A Wolf in a Harness (1995)

Quite a pleasant cartoon to view, and a respectable one to end his directing career on for Anatoliy Solin (also one of the final ones released by Ekran studio, right before the government shut it down). Solin's first film in 1973 was the one that started this Munchausen series.

In the original story, though, the wolf actually eats up the horse from the back while it's running and that's how it ends up in the harness, while in this one the horse just runs away. I guess that makes it more "family friendly" but I can't help but prefer the more bizarre original version. The Germans made a cartoon version of that one in 1944 - Die Abenteuer des Freiherrn von Münchhausen (it can be viewed here or here). It's wonderfully demented and I recommend it. :)

Comment on The Old Sheet of Paper (2010)

The director must have some history living among the peoples of the far north, because a few of his films feature them. I can't help but feel that this one might be inspired by the events of the 1990s, when ordinary people in big cities suddenly found themselves at the mercies of barbaric crime lords and mafias (some of them ethnic), after the government abrogated its responsibilities to keep public order.

Comment on Legend of the Old Lighthouse (1975)

Interesting, this one. The director had obviously fought in World War II, and made use of some of his memories here. I'm not sure that anyone could make a film like this today.

In terms of "children being heroic during wartime", this also reminds me a bit of Snezhko-Blotskaya's The Tale of the Boy Nipper-Pipper (1958), though that one was about the Russian Civil War and is much more cartoony.

Comment on The Wolf and the Seven Little Goats In a New Way (1975)

I agree, the art director was often an important person. And they would often later go on to direct films of their own, and these would often be quite interesting. Just off the top of my head - this path was followed by Valentin Olshvang, Irina Smirnova, Sergey Alibekov, Ideya Garanina. While other art directors would find a director and then stay with them for the rest of their careers (e.g. Vera Kudryavtseva-Yengalycheva with Leonid Nosyrev). Not just art directors went on to become directors, though. Garri Bardin started out as an actor before making the switch (and continued acting afterwards), though apparently this was far less common. Maybe because of that, the art direction seems relatively less important in his films.

In any case, while this definitely looks aesthetically close to plasticine animation, which would have such a big influence in future years, it's not there yet. The first plasticine animation is still Tatarskiy's 1981 "Plasticine Crow".

Comment on The Wolf and the Seven Little Goats In a New Way (1975)

What aristov started, or rather, Ludmila Tanasenko the art director of the film. That's an underrated profession in animation. But Tanasenko was always in for trying something new to broaden the possibilities of puppet-animation.See for instance The Trunk(Sunduk)1986, and all her other work with Yulian Kalisher) What she did here was applying a 3D means to a 2D cut-out, or flat-puppet technique (The russian name for it, which I think, is better.)making it into a semi-2D technique. That's the revolution she started! Tatarskiy and Eduard Belyahev from Saratov Telefilm builded further on the same idea. But Tanasenko herself would be nowhere without the 3 layers of glass flat puppet film technique, which, also later was perfected by Yuri Norstein. The Russian animation workers continuously stimulated renewal, and experimentation in each other. And often that starts with art-directors or cameraman. Petrov and Norstein are good examples of Art-directors bringing something really new that revolutionized Russian Animation.

Replies: >>5

Comment on The Wolf and the Seven Little Goats In a New Way (1975)

>But as far as I know it was the invention of 2 d use of plasticine, that was what was special about it
It looks like glazed clay to me, not plasticine. It doesn't deform anywhere, I see no fingerprints - the pieces always look like they have a hard surface. Although the aesthetic does look similar.

Tatarskiy wrote in his 1986 essay "Making Animation" (which I translated back in 2008) that when he started making his 1981 cartoon "Plasticine Crow", his colleagues at the studio were saying "Nothing good can come from our plasticine - only the Americans know how to do this!" and "The plasticine will melt underneath the projectors!"

Comment on The Wolf and the Seven Little Goats In a New Way (1975)

But as far as I know it was the invention of 2 d use of plasticine, that was what was special about it

Replies: >>3

Comment on The Wolf and the Seven Little Goats In a New Way (1975)

Though I quite like the mother goat's song at the start and end (with its rhythm almost certainly inspired by Brubeck's "Take Five"), I much prefer the excellent 1957 adaptation of the same story that tells it in the traditional way. I also prefer Aristov's films that he made both before this (his collaborations with Hodatayeva such as "The Brave Fawn") and after this (e.g. "The Tree Frog"). I'm not really sure that this one is his "most appreciated"; it's definitely not the one that won the most awards.

Compared to 1957, all of the characters are less appealing except possibly the wolf. The goat-mother here is portrayed as a hapless worry-wart who tries to prevent her kids from having fun but is powerless to do so (she even tells them to not play inside the house while she's gone, the opposite of the goat-mother from 1957, and they wink to themselves as she says this). Her melody, I think, is meant to be "needlessly complicated".

While the goat kids in 1957 have many positive qualities, the ones here have kind of an ugly design to them, act kind of bratty, and the melody of their signature song is not very appealing but rather simple (I think). This also makes the wolf's decision to join their song not that believable to me, because their song is just not that good. And also, as far as I can tell, the wolf is still ravenously hungry at the end of the film. He's still gotta eat at some point, and nobody's given him anything except a flower for that concert. And yet the film acts like everything is resolved. So the "moral", such as it is, is actually a dangerous one.

So, overall, it's not a favourite of mine, though I do like some things about it.

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