Plastilinovaya vorona (1981)

TV Short   |    |  Animation, Short, Musical


Plastilinovaya vorona (1981) Poster

"Plasticine Crow", a re-telling of the old Aesop fable about the Fox and the Crow.


8.2/10
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14 October 2007 | ackstasis
6
| A fast-paced, satirical interpretation of a simple folk tale… or maybe not a folk tale… or maybe not so simple
Russian animator Aleksandr Tatarskiy is rather well-known among Soviet animation circles, and his death on June 22, 2007, due to a heart attack at age 56, was an unfortunate blow to fans of his work. I had not been familiar with his films, so the most practical place to start was his debut directorial effort, 'Plastilinovaya vorona {The Plasticine Crow},' released in 1981. This brief film of about four minutes was the first Russian use of clay painting, a technique first utilised in 1980 by Joan C. Gratz. The technique is quite unusual in that we get to see the landscape and characters taking shape, being created from a shapeless mass of clay, and, sometimes, the animator's hand even enters the frame to make adjustments. This reminded me of the very earliest animated films, when animators such as J. Stuart Blackton used to also show us their main characters being sketched out from nothing.

'The Plasticine Crow' is based on a folk-tale, which roughly plays out as follows: after a crow discovers a piece of cheese, a clever fox praises the bird into showing off her singing voice. When she does so, the cheese plummets from her mouth and into the grasp of the hungry fox. Tatarskiy's interpretation is very jovial and energetic, with the narration sung to us by numerous narrators, and the voices of children occasionally cut in to encourage or alter the storyline. What is most interesting is that the story sounds like it is being made up on the spot: there appears to be some confusion (or, at least, some freedom of choice) as to the identity of the crow. Why can't it be a dog? Why not a cow? When the wily fox enters the story, why can't it be a mad ostrich? The short film has a good sense of fun about it, and the constant altering of the characters allows the animator to have a bit of fun with his work.

Aleksandr Tatarskiy's 'The Plasticine Crow' is an interesting little short, which doesn't say anything particularly deep, but is clever and energetic enough to keep us entertained. The explicitly-stated "moral" of the story left me a bit confused, since nothing in the preceding four minutes had suggested to me that it was wrong to stand, jump around or sing and dance in off-limits construction zones where "heavy things might land." Considering that the fox obtained his cheese in a similar fashion, frankly I can see an upside to it! I'd also like to extend a special thanks to the IMDb user Niffiwan, whose excellent blog on Russian animation introduced me to this interesting short film.

Storyline

Plot Summary


Genres

Animation | Short | Musical

Details

Release Date:

1981

Language

Russian


Country of Origin

Soviet Union

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