September 13th, 2009

drawing, old man

Translations for the 4 Cheburashka films.

This isn't very new, but it might be news for some. The four famous films about Cheburashka have all been translated into English.

If subtitles appear to be missing: Click on the triangle at the bottom right of the video, and make sure that CC is turned on.

Gena the Crocodile (1969), subtitled by Mr. Icon (aka. monsieuricon), with a few edits by me. (subtitle download here)

Cheburashka (1971), subtitled by Mr. Icon (subtitle download here).

Chapeau-Claque (1974), subtitled by MiaRossa

Cheburashka Goes to School (1983), subtitled by MiaRossa.

All of the films were directed by Roman Kachanov.

MiaRossa has also translated the second film and half of the first, but her translations are not as good as Mr. Icon's.

These films have recently been released on DVD in English-speaking countries, seemingly by minor companies in a few different versions. Watch out for the release from Vei Studio which has English-only dialogue (no Russian version with subtitles).
drawing, old man

Nu, pogodi! (#1-4)

julia2night has made subtitles for the first four episodes of the most famous Soviet-era animation series, "Nu, pogodi!". The films (of which 20 have been made since 1969, the last two just 4-5 years ago by the original director's son) are actually nearly wordless if you don't count the songs. You really only need to know that volk means "wolf", zayats means "hare" (it also means "stowaway", which is used as a pun in episode 7), and nu, pogodi! means "just you wait!".

So armed with that knowledge, you can go and watch all of them right now and not worry about subtitles. :) (except for episode 16, which might be a bit harder to understand)

However, there's still some use to adding subtitles to them, to translate some of the song lyrics and the various Russian-language signs.

Here are the first four episodes that have been subtitled so far. The first was made in 1969, the second in 1970, and the last two in 1971.

This is the first time I had watched the "newly-restored" version of these films (as opposed to my old faded video versions that I have at home). Interestingly, it seems that someone decided to add sound effects that weren't in the original film. For example, the noise during the plane ride at 5:20 in the second episode wasn't there before; just the music. I wonder who made the decision to add that stuff in?
drawing, old man

About Crayfish (Про раков)

Here's another excellent film that is newly-translated into English.

"About Crayfish" was directed by Valentin Olshvang in A-Film Studio in 2003. It is his third film (second if we don't count the short segment for "Optimus Mundus"). Previously, Olshvang had worked as art director for Yuriy Norshteyn in 2000, on the "Goodnight Children" film. He is now once again working at Norshteyn's studio "Artel".

This film is based on old folklore, and was very difficult to translate (a lot of Old Russian). By necessity, much of the translation is a paraphrase, because this old dialect is too different from English to translate very closely. There are still some phrases that are not translated - if anyone can help with those, I would appreciate it. In particular: the mother's prayer at 1:46 and the gossiping women at 7:14. I wish to thank lana_sv for her mostly-accurate transcription of the Russian text. It helped enormously.

This film won 3rd place in the audience ranking at the 2004 Open Russian Festival of Animated Film in Suzdal, and received a jury prize for "creating a striking and original artistic world".

(note: not recommended for children)

Some of my own thoughts (do not read before watching the film):

The main character of this film may not even be the daughter, but the mother. Consider: although she is the main negative character in the film, she has clearly suffered greatly in the past. She is a widow, left to raise her daughter alone. Just when she thinks that she has succeeded in her life mission and arranged her daughter's marriage to a rich man, her daughter runs away without a trace. The villagers all shun her - she brings a sledge to the lake, but none of them will let their children play with her. When, after a long time, her daughter returns, the mother's anger at her own dole in life combines with her love for her daughter and desire to keep her by her side (because she has no one else). Her daughter sleeps, and quietly the mother walks out of the house with a sword. Her hatred, needing an outlet, focuses on the persona of the dragon whom her daughter married, who has actually been a fine husband this whole time:

He who covets to fool and torment my child,
and then to hide himself in the deepest hell,
in boiling resin and scorching heat,
His charms will not help him,
His tricks will not help him,
His artifices will not help him,
Let him sleep his final sleep,
Let his eyes burst.
May a scourge befall you,
May your bones rot in a pit,
Damnation upon your mother.

Only after killing him, and seeing her grandchildren cowering in fear, does she realize the true situation; a situation which for her was unthinkable. Trying to bring back her child, she loses her child and her grandchildren forever.

There are no winners in this tragic story.

I should also mention that the daughter's transformation is portrayed unbelievably well. The quiet sense of growing wrongness and unnaturalness, followed by the sudden bird-call... I get goosebumps watching it every time.