Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Yuriy Norshteyn: Glorious, Glorious Animation

I'm hoping one of my loyal readers who's knowledge of all things filmic and Russian far surpasses my own, will have some further information on Russian animation genius Yuriy Norshteyn (Fuzzy Bastard, I'm looking at you!).

His work is detailed and beautiful and charming - and unprolific. He is referred to in Russia as "The Golden Snail" for the slowness of his process - he has been working on his (yet unfinished) film The Overcoat, based on the short story by Nicolai Gogol, since 1981. The work by him that is available (on YouTube - the only Region 1 DVD I could find is a long out of print anthology of Russian animation) is beautiful. Below see the magical, toy theater-like Seasons:

And the unbelievably tragic My Green Crocodile. I'm not precisely sure what happens, as it is untranslated, but it's a simple story and I think I get the drift. The Green Crocodile falls in love with a beautiful cow. The other animals are jealous (I think) and it all ends in tears - which at least make flowers grow. It's stunning.

It is for work like this that I endlessly praise the internet. Such beauty, such genius - all at our fingertips, in our homes. It's not too easy, is it? I don't think so. With all this variety, most people still watch the same old corporate garbage to the exclusion of almost everything else. But there's so much to look at and listen to and to read and to watch. How could anyone ever be bored in this true age of wonders?

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