Mstislav Paščenko

Sog.: tratto da un racconto di Ivan Belyšev. Scen.: Mstislav Paščenko. F.: A. Astaf’ev. Animazione: Boris Dëžkin, Valentina Vasilenko. Mus.: Karen Chačaturian. Prod.: Sojuzmul’tfil’m · 35mm. Col.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Having suffered a series of anti-formalist campaigns in the 1930s and 1940s, Soviet animation lost practically all its connections with the avant-garde, and strong connections they were. By the end of the 1940s art was supposed to be realistic and ‘typical’. Not willing to take any risk, animators considered it safe to apply rotoscope wherever they could. Eminent actors of the stage (preferably from the Moscow Art Theatre) would act in front of the camera, and the only thing left for the animators was to transfer live action into drawings – with no place for stylization.
Neposlušnyj kotënok is, at a first glance, an innocent exemplary tale with a simple moral: little ones should obey and stay home with the grown-ups. Yet, this one-reeler caused a stir among filmmakers and is justly considered as much a breakthrough in animation, as The Return of Vasilij Bortnikov is in live-action cinema. There is still a blatant abuse of rotoscope with the eerily hyper-realistic grandmother and granddaughter. But the animals belong to the new era. For the first time in twenty years animated characters had no contours. This brought a sense of volume, a sense of real texture (something Soviet animation would stake on a decade later). It brought back the long-lost stylization. Animators themselves united all these features into a single term – ‘fluffiness’ (pušistost). Silly as it may seem, it was precisely this twist from false realism to ‘fluffiness’ that blazed a trail to the famous Soviet avant-garde animation of the 1960s-1970s, resulting in the masterpieces of Fëdor Chitruk and Jurij Norštein.

Peter Bagrov

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