The Dog and the Cat (Շունն ու Կատուն, 1938) by Lev Atamanov

Current Page || History

The Dog and the Cat
Շունն ու Կատուն
Пёс и кот
Shunn u katun (hy)
Pyos i kot (ru)

Year 1938
Director(s) Atamanov Lev
Studio(s) Armenfilm
Language(s) Armenian
Genre(s) Folklore & myth (Rus./USSR minorities)
Literature (Rus./USSR minorities)
Animation Type(s)  Drawn (cel)
Length 00:12:57
Wordiness 5.03 profile Ru, En
533 visitors

Pyos i
Date: December 17 2021 22:41:16
Language: English
Quality: good
Upload notes: 1008 characters long (view)
Creator(s): Niffiwan, amirjanyan, lianaaaaa

Is the video not playing correctly? Click here.


The first-ever Armenian animation. Winter is coming on, and a shepherd-dog goes to a cat-furrier to get a new hat made for himself. Instead he gets cheated, thus beginning the age-old feud between dogs and cats. Based on the poem by Hovhannes Tumanyan.

The director Lev Atamanov (aka. Atamanyan), an Armenian by birth, had worked in animation in Moscow since 1928, and had directed four animated films for Mezhrabpomfilm from 1931-1935 in the technique of cutout animation. When the government closed that studio down in 1935 (replacing it with the new centralized studio Soyuzmultfilm), most of its former workers either joined Soyuzmultfilm or left the field. Atamanyan did neither, but returned to his native Armenia to attempt to start its own animation tradition at Armenfilm studio.

For his first animated film, he chose to adapt a well-known children's poem by the Armenian writer Hovhannes Tumanyan, "The Dog and the Cat", written in 1886 but first published in 1908. The original Armenian poem can be read here, an English translation here (not sure who the translator is) and a Russian translation here (translated by Samuil Marshak).

Atamanov's character designs for the animated adaptation were influenced partly by the illustrations of the story's first edition from 1908 (as can be seen from these scans), particularly the cat. But other aspects were of his own invention, such as the memorable bazaar scene near the beginning (featuring characters like the wolf-merchant selling shish-kebab while a lamb tends to the grill), as well as the character of the goat-judge. It's interesting that the cartoon is actually a lot more pessimistic than the original poem (in the poem, the court case is decided against the cat-furrier, who has to run away, while in the cartoon, the judge of the court rules against the dog because it was him who had taken the dog's hat from the cat-furrier in the first place).

His final film at Armenfilm studio was released in 1948, after which Atamanov moved permanently to Moscow and made the rest of his films only in Russian. He became one of the top Soviet animation directors, making hits such as "The Snow Queen" (1957). He made a remake of "The Dog and the Cat" in 1955, in colour and with much technically-nicer animation - however, the authentic Armenian music was replaced with a "typical" orchestral score, and the pessimism about societal corruption was toned down. From the main antagonist, the goat-judge was turned into a comical figure, and the overall plot was made more similar to the original poem.

The 1938 film was originally released in both Armenian and Russian - to be specific, the dialogues and signs in the film are a mix of Russian and Armenian (mostly duplicated), there is one important song that's entirely in Armenian, and the intertitles/title cards/credits are either entirely in Russian or entirely in Armenian, depending on which version you watch.

The first video above is the one with the Russian-language intertitles, not the Armenian. The 1938 Russian intertitles, unlike in the 1955 remake, are not based on Marshak's translation. The second video above has the Armenian intertitles, and a more blurry image in general (the aspect ratio has been corrected, but it may still be a bit off) - this version may have been released on DVD at some point, but seemingly only in really awful quality. The subtitles are made for the Russian version and are out-of-sync for the first 40 seconds of the Armenian version (which is missing the first introductory intertitle), but are in-sync for the rest of it.



To add comment, please login or register.