Animation &Commentary &Events 06 Jan 2010 08:54 am

Russian Animation

- Andrey Khrzhanovsky is one of Russia’s premiere animators. The list of his an1mated shorts can be found here.

He has completed a live action/animation feature that has been scoring excellent reviews. A Room and a Half draws on the biography of Joseph Brodsky, the Russian -Jewish -American poet, who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1987 and was made poet laureate of the U.S. in 1991.

The reviewer in Variety wrote:

    Veteran animator and documaker Andrey Khrzhanovsky’s feature debut, at the age of 69, is a magical, wildly creative fantasia on the life of Russian poet Joseph Brodsky. . .

    Khrzhanovsky has stated that Brodsky’s life was the “creative impulse” for his film, meaning it shouldn’t be seen as a biopic. Or rather, it’s as much a biopic as one of Fellini’s self-referential reveries. . .

    “A Room and a Half” is unmistakably the work of a mature artist, and it’s the helmer’s absolute mastery of the different formats that makes his work so joyous. Silhouette cutouts reflect pre-Revolutionary elegance, an animated cat appears inside a credenza and musical instruments float across the city skyline, fusing Magritte and Chagall.

The magazine Screen adds:

    Some of the most touching moments in the film cover his childhood, painting an intimate, cheerful, closely knit family, that never lets their cramped living space or the penury of the lean years sap their spirit. The film freely elaborates on young Brodsky’s flights of imagination at the time, including a magical animated sequence in which Soviet soldiers throw culture out of the window, followed by a whole orchestra’s worth of instruments.

The Film Forum will be screening A Room and A Half for two weeks beginning Jan 20th.


- Speaking of Russian animation, there’ve been some additions to Niffiwan’s site, Animatsaya In English. Lots of recent animation has been posted (all subtitled in English) as well as a lot of information.

Niffiwan has put together a Wiki site which offers a large number of animated films, both current and historic, which have been subtitled. There’s a list of films subtitled in English and a list of films that are wordless. You owe it to yourself to start catching up on some of the world’s finest animation.

Some of the treasures include:

    Of course, there are Norshtein‘s films: The Heron and the Crane and The Hedgehog in the Fog

    There’s also Fyodor Khitruk‘s masterpiece Film, Film, Film as well as several of his Winnie the Pooh flms.

    There are number of films by Edouard Nazarov including There Once Was A Dog.

    There are classics like Ivan-Vano-Ivanov‘s The Little Hunchbacked Horse or The Stolen Sun.

    Plenty (maybe too many) of the commercially successful Well, Just You Wait! films.

Get a taste of the Russian Roadrunner, then move on.

There are at a couple hundred films on this site. Spend some time.

Additionally, Niffiwan leads us to another site: Digital Cake which offers some other animated films (many are the same as his wiki.)

6 Responses to “Russian Animation”

  1. on 06 Jan 2010 at 11:01 am 1.richard o'connor said …

    Have you seen A Room And A Half yet?

    I’m looking forward to the screening tomorrow, these are the first words I’ve read about it and the only images I’ve seen.

  2. on 06 Jan 2010 at 11:07 am 2.Michael said …

    No, I haven’t seen the film yet. I hope to attend the screening tomorrow, as well.

  3. on 06 Jan 2010 at 12:58 pm 3.Liesje said …

    Where is this elusive screening tomorrow? Or is it a selective screening? I guess I can wait till Jan. 20th, but just curious…

  4. on 06 Jan 2010 at 1:06 pm 4.Michael said …

    I assume the screening is an “invitation only” type for publicity purposes.

  5. on 06 Jan 2010 at 1:19 pm 5.Liesje said …

    Ah, such is life… Was hoping to treat a family member while in town but he’ll just have to wait.

    Look forward to hearing what you think!

  6. on 06 Jan 2010 at 10:21 pm 6.Niffiwan said …

    I’ve been looking forward to seeing “A Room and Half” for years now… it’s been in production for a very long time, and its release date kept getting pushed back. I’m glad that it’s getting some critical attention now that it has actually been finished.

    The Digital Cake website doesn’t actually offer “quite a few more” than the wiki – the main difference is that it also lists live-action films, but it doesn’t list wordless films. The lists of subtitled animated films on both sites should be the same.

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