niffiwan (niffiwan) wrote,

Belarusfilm - a glimpse

Belarusfilm, though founded in 1928, did not become an animated film studio until 1972 (there was one earlier stop-motion coproduction with Soyuzmultfilm in 1963). Since then, however, the studio's films have gained many fans - at least within Russian-speaking territories. In the 1990s, Belarusfilm was one of the few Soviet animation studios that did not fade away (unlike Kievnauchfilm, Kazakhfilm, Armenfilm, Azerbaijanfilm, Georgia Film, Tajikfilm... most of these either died or went into hibernation).

On the contrary, it continued to make innovative films at about the same rate as before. Now, I don't claim to know the details of how things work at the studio or what their history was in the 1990s, but their films show that they continue to have much artistic freedom (more importantly: artistic freedom for the sake of a film rather than experimentation for its own sake) and continue to explore and refine new unique animation methods. They also continue to be very unknown outside of their own country and perhaps Russia. I suppose politics may be the reason for that.

Anyway, I would like to present two interesting films from the 1990s by Belarusfilm (subtitles by myself, as usual).

The first one, called "Forest Tales", is rather strange, poetic, and full of symbols and meaning. It features a highly-developed use of what seems to be powder animation.

Click the below image to watch the film:

I wouldn't hesitate to match this film up against Norshteyn's "Hedgehog in the Fog"... high praise indeed, but I think it deserves it. The voice acting is spectacular, and you do lose quite a bit if you don't understand Russian.

The second one, called "The Tale of the Blue Cloak", has a completely different style and tone, but has some engaging storytelling and catchy music:

Click the below image to watch the film...

...or watch it on Youtube with hardcoded subtitles (and not as nice video quality):

I recommend watching them in their original size rather than stretched out, which seems to be the default option.
Tags: 1990s, belarusfilm, cel animation, powder animation, translation

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