The Aid Program (Скорая помощь, 1949) by Lamis Bredis

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The Aid Program
The Ambulance
Скорая помощь
Skoraya pomoshch (ru)
Kiire abi programm (et)

Year 1949
Director(s) Bredis Lamis
Studio(s) Soyuzmultfilm
Language(s) Russian
Genre(s) Comedy
Animation Type(s)  Drawn (cel)
Length 00:10:39
Wordiness 13.4 profile Ru, En
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Mr. Boa from Boa Street comes to Hareland with an Aid Program, but things are not quite what they seem.

The story seems to have been intended as a satire on the Marshall Plan. It was one of a number of fable-like political satires released by the studio in the late 1940s, a genre that would soon almost vanish, perhaps because of this film's fate.

This was one of the very few animated films to be entirely completed yet banned by the Soviet government and never released into circulation during the USSR's existence (the other ones were the 1968 "Glass Harmonica", the 1987 "Martynko" and possibly the 1969 "Mystery-Bouffe" - though that one seems to have been a decision at the provincial level, not the national one). The screenwriter A. Medvedkin never worked in animation again, while the director Lamis Bredis (who'd directed many previous animated films) never worked as a director again, but only in other roles.

Below is a translation of the relevant 1949 directive by the USSR's Minister of Cinematography (the original text, and some critical commentary by animation historian Georgiy Borogin, can be found here). Borodin says that it is possible that the impetus for the ban came not from the Minister of Cinematography, but from someone higher up. What makes the whole matter more mysterious is that the document does not go into any detail on what the "ideological mistakes" actually were.

ORDER of the Minister of Cinematography of the USSR
City of Moscow, March 28, 1949.
Content: On the ideological and artistic errors in the animated film "The Aid Program" produced by the studio "Soyuzmultfilm".
The short film "The Aid Program" (1 reel) that has completed production at Soyuzmultfilm studio, with a script by A. Medvedkin and directed by L. Bredis, is flawed ideologically and in its artistic content.
The creators of the film took the path of gross distortion and vulgarization of an important political theme of the film, that of reactionary imperialist politics.
The management of the Soyuzmultfilm Film Studio made a serious mistake by accepting an ideologically flawed and anti-artistic script from the author A. Medvedkin and putting it into production.
The Chief Directorate for the Production of Feature Films was also irresponsible in reviewing the script and accepting the finished film.
The script editors - comrade S.F. Antonov of the General Directorate of Feature Film Production (GUPHF), who directly assessed the worth of the script of "The Aid Program", and comrade I.M. Manevich, who was in charge of the film during its production, were politically short-sighted and did not find either in the script nor in the finished picture the serious ideological mistakes that they contained.
Comrade Semyonov N.K., the head of GUPHF, who approved the script presented by the directorate of the "Soyuzmultfilm" film studio, also did not show proper responsibility.
For these errors, consisting of the production of the ideologically and artistically flawed film "The Aid Program" and the unproductive expenditure of public funds,
1. The "Soyuzmultfilm" studio director, comrade Akimov N.I., is to be given a strict reprimand.
2. The film's director Mr. L. Bredis is to be removed from his employment as "director", to remain at the studio only as an "animator", and is to be reprimanded severely.
3. The chief editors of the State Unitary Enterprise Antonov S.F. and Manevich I.M. are to be reprimanded for their irresponsible attitude while reviewing the script and the finished film.
4. The director of GUPHF, Comrade N.K. Semyonov, is to be reminded of the need for a more responsible attitude to both the acceptance of scripts and the reviewing of materials and finished films.
5. A.I. Medvedkin is to be removed from the Artistic Council of the Soyuzmultfilm Film Studio.
6. Directors of film studios are to be prohibited from concluding any further contracts for writing any scripts with Mr. A.I. Medvedkin
7. The short animated film "The Aid Program" is to be prohibited from exhibition
Minister of Cinematography of the USSR I. Bolshakov



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