===Story=== The 12 shorts in this collection were made at the Soyuzmultfilm Studio during the late '80s, shortly before the collapse of the Soviet regime ended the subsidies that had financed the studio's output since its establishment in 1936. Nina Shorina's mordant stop-motion film "Door" (1986) probably ranks as the best known work in the anthology. The outré inhabitants of a crumbling apartment house go to enormous trouble getting in and out of the building without using the front door--even after a boy demonstrates that it's unlocked. "Door" satirizes the mismanaged life Soviet citizens endured for decades, but the rest of the films draw primarily on non-Russian sources for inspiration. Natasha Golovanova's charming "Boy Is a Boy" (1986) reflects the influence of British illustrator Ronald Searle; "Liberated Don Quixote" (1987) by Vadim Kurchevsky offers backgrounds that evoke the paintings of El Greco; Mikhail Aldashin and Peep Pedmanson borrowed heavily from the Hubley Studio films "Keke" (1988). While Shorina's "Alter Ego" (1989) resembles a watered-down version of the work of Czech surrealist animator Jan Svankmajer. Although many of the films are interesting and entertaining, the studio was clearly past its prime. The viewer looks in vain for the compelling personal visions of Yuri Norstein and Fyodor Khitruk, who dominated Soyuzmultfilm during its most creative period. Complete contents: 1. "Door," 2. "Boy Is a Boy," 3. "Liberated Don Quixote," 4. "Martinko," 5. "Big Underground Ball," 6. "Cat and Clown," 7. "Dream," 8. "Kele," 9. "Alter Ego," 10. "Girlfriend," 11. "Croak x Croak," 12. "Cat and Company." Unrated, it is suitable for ages 10 and older for minor cartoon violence, grotesque imagery, and difficult themes. ''-- Charles Solomon''
|Masters of Russian Animation|