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Vladimir Tarasov employed sci-fi motifs in several of his 1980s animation shorts, including the anti-capitalist satire Shooting Range about violence, and dystopic futuristic Contract dedicated to power of money that corrupts people in the capitalist society.  Shooting Range is a beautifully rendered cartoon that features interesting perception of the US filled with avant-garde jazz (considered to be reprehensible music in the Soviet Union),classic American cars, highways with at least 12 lanes, and glass and steel skyscrapers. Stereotypical American hero wears jeans and baseball hat and is attached to his car in a way a nomad warrior attached to his horse. Violence and unemployment plague this geometrical generic Western city. The anti-hero inherits typical capitalist features including passion for cigars (while the unemployed  hero smokes – presumably more proletarian – Camel).

Capitalist from 1959 Soviet magazine

Antihero of Shooting Range

In a scene of temporal (underlined by transformation of a cuckoo clock bird into firebird) happiness Vladimir Tarasov pays a homage to Disney characters – a vital part of American cultural image.

While this craftily executed cartoon has some ideologically correct features, there is artistic fascination with  American aesthetics, design, music, and big city vibe. This cartoon presents  the West both disturbing and appealing.

Shooting Range (Тир, 1979)

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Many Russians learned the Godfather‘s Speak Softly Love from this cartoon. Filmed by Vladimir Tarasov in 1978, Contact is about the meeting of two worlds. The alien spaceship lands in a peaceful countryside where the Artist (modeled after John Lennon circa 1967) enjoys a peaceful landscape. Such encounter with the Alien seems to scare the Artist, but music helps to overcome a language barrier.

No Russian required.