Eduard Nazarov, an acclaimed artist, book illustrator, and animation director, passed away yesterday in Moscow. Nazarov, closely associated with Fyodor Khitruk, was involved in several of his projects, including Winnie the Pooh (1969-1972). In the 1990s, he became one of the co-founders of the SHAR studio, and later supervised a highly successful Mountain of Gems animated series based on folk tales of peoples of Russia. Nazarov is best-known as the creator of such classics as Once Upon a Dog / Once There Was a Dog (1982), a tragicomic story adopted from Ukrainian folklore about an old dog expelled by his owners, and Travels of an Ant (1983), a small ant’s quest to find his home. His beloved works feature a distinct visual style and combine lyricism with a mellow sense of humor.
Travels of an Ant (Путешествие муравья)
The New Yorker published an article about an Oscar-nominated animated short “We Can’t Live Without Cosmos” by Konstantin Bronzit, a critically acclaimed animator based in Russia.
In 2009, Bronzit was nominated for his elegant and heartwarming “Lavatory – Lovestory”
Another great animated film by Leonid Shmelkov, My Own Personal Moose (Special Prize at the Berlin Film Festival) – a story about a timid boy named Misha, his childhood dream, and his relationship with his gloomy, short-spoken, but caring father. It’s a film about love, growing up, and a moose Misha hopes to find one day.
Мой личный лось (2013)
The Nativity by Mikhail Aldashin depicts events of the New Testaments in a subtle, delicate way. Naive style inspired by medieval art, muted colors, and characters presented in a childlike manner create an intimate vision of a miracle without traditional pomposity.
The Nativity (Рождество) 1996
Hopfrog (2012) is a beautifully bizarre animated short by Leonid Shmelkov, with remarkable rhythm, plasticity, and wonderful hopping creatures.
Cheburashka is a fuzzy creature from several iconic Soviet stop-motion cartoons created by Roman Kachanov, one of the founders of the Soviet stop-motion animation and Leonid Shvartsman, a prominent Soyuzmultfilm art-director. In recent decades, Cheburashka together with his friend, Gena the crocodile gained popularity in Japan. The new Cheburashka movie, a Russian-Japanese project, featuring award-winning animation director Mikhail Aldashin, carefully recreates environment of the classic Soviet cartoons.
Original Cheburashka 1969
Russian with English subtitles
Trailer of the new stop-motion film Cheburashka
New Cheburashka is now available online
Chinti (2011) by Natalia Mirzoyan
The film is made with various tea leaves creating a gentle, subtle environment. A small ant (chinti means “ant” in Hindi) appears to be a big visionary.
The Primaeval Father (sic) (Первобытный папа)
A short film by Vladimir Danilov (school-studio Shar). Rough force often prevails over reason.
E.T.A. Hoffmann was always one of the most beloved German writers in Russia. We already wrote about the animated version of Nutcracker (1973). Tatyana Ilyina produced her full featured version of Nutcracker in 2004. Hoffmaniad (Гофманиада), the most recent stop-motion animated film with elements of computer animation, has been in the works since 2001. It will combine elements of several novels, including Little Zaches, The Golden Pot, and The Sandman. It features art and design of a prominent Russian-born artist, Mikhail Shemyakin. As of now, a 20-minute version is available (based on The Golden Pot). The quality of puppets and design is amazing. Fantasy and reality blend together, and the world of the protagonist, Hoffmann, who serves as a low-rank official, is more tragic and surreal than magical adventures he writes about. Unfortunately, no exact release date is given.
Directed by Stanislav Sokolov
Russian, no English subtitles
My Mother is an Airplane (Моя мама самолет) by Yulya Aronova
A delightful cartoon about different careers mothers have.