Russian Animation For The Little Ones

A Square Amidst Black Waves
Animation has an innate connection to poetry. It is nice when the verses silently crawl into the texture of the film as a constituent part. Like in «Two Streetcars» by Svetlana Andrianova, where the images do not illustrate or repeat the word, but become its new incarnation. And accordingly the Special Jury Prize at the national animation forum in Suzdal, which was given to this movie, is called «For Poetic Quality». The movie was inspired by the poem by Osip Mandelshtam and book illustrations by Anna Destitskaya. Author’s animation continues its search for the film language capable of expressing the «inexpressible»: spiritual pangs, joy, hidden fears, acute compassion. Elizaveta Skvortsova turned Edward Lear’s absurdist poetry into live graphics in the movie «Jony-Bony-Bo». Movies from the Urals by contemporary animators seem to be infused with the poetics of Nivkh fairy-tales and Chukot legends. There is a secret to works from Ekaterinburg. Whether it is radiation, the echo of shamanic incantations or magic crystals, something turns the author’s energy into emotions, magic lines, tragic view of life. «Amidst Black Waves» by Anna Budanova is a variation of the wandering plot about the mermaid or Frog Princess. Using hand-painted liquid graphics (Indian ink, gouache, oil paints) the director reinterpreted the ancient legend about the souls of drowned people becoming sea creatures. Black water, a black dog with bared teeth, ringed-seal’s eyes glistening with coal-like glitter, — the essence is discernible beneath the thick fabric of the hood. In this cinema graphics, movement, light play out the conflict of the visible and the existential, the tragedy of the impossible. One of the most mesmerizing movies of recent years is «Fishes, Swimmers, Ships», made by Dmitry Geller and Andrei Kulev together with Chinese students. Black-and-white water-color shots with outbursts of color pile upon each other, pour out onto the screen like waves. The ancient spectacle about predetermination, the battle of life and death amidst red faces devouring pasta is played out by the main character with the help of bamboo sticks of the theatre of shadows. A movie about the predetermination of fate as a personal choice, about the circling rhymes «existence» — «nonexistence». The red, the white, the black. Futility and flight. Prose and poetry...

Moreover, the program offers an exquisite fantasy about ways to draw a man from the most liberated animator Alexander Svirsky («9 Ways to Draw a Man»). A story where the wolf’s eyelash features prominently from the graduate of SPbGIKiT Elizaveta Starikova («Wolf’s Eyelash»). Another of Ivan Maximov’s phantasmagorical works prompted by a usual walk in the park («An Alternative Walk»). There is also an ironic poetry piece «Dangerous Trip» by Mikhail Soloshenko: the best way to talk about the unbelievable reality called our everyday life is irony. In the movie «The Square» chance passers-by freeze in a busy city street... Whom are they looking at? At us? Towards the end a house painter paints the screen with his brush turning it into a «black square». Exactly, at us.

Larisa Malyukova