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Russian Rikki-Tikki-Tavi (1965) - animation in details

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Russian Rikki-Tikki-Tavi (1965) - animation in details

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Алек Morse
In 2012 Russian animation celebrates own 100 years anniversary, so I have to devote some notes in my blog to this event. Here I begin an essay series named "Animation in details" - it's a view on some curious things that unexpectedly catched my mind.


The Harmony and Struggle of Opposites

Animation in details

Alexander SEDOV (c) January 2012


The story about a mongoose gives an extraordinary opportunity to play with an animal’s plasticity on the screen. A mongoose jumps, spins, sneaks, fights with a slithering snake. In fact the entire cartoon film is based on an idea of the static and moving clash, on the conflict of smooth movement with pulsing, the struggle of serene calmness and springy action.


Strictly speaking, the whole cartoon is woven of this dialectics, but primarily its protagonist – a mongoose, a living embodiment of an idea of movement. It is no wonder that Rikki-Tikki-Tavi wins struggle against the cobras, because a mongoose is THE struggle of opposites and their inner harmony: has the springy gait, is able to creep smoothly, suddenly jump up on a place, be like a spinning top… In short, this hero is not just a mongoose, but also a cobra in «the braided kind», secretly owns a plasticity of the opponent. 


In our latitudes a mongoose can be found in a zoo only. But who paid attention how a cat sleeps on the pillow, curled up in a ball, how creeps in a front garden grass, how chases for its tail, – definitely shall appreciate the force and beauty of the cartoon film’s design.


Not only the protagonist, but also the space around is subordinated to the same cosmological law: the watercolour world is steady and constant, even if the sky is cut by lightning strokes, the thunder rattles and the clear lines-waves stream. In an animated short story, the filmmakers have combined Modernism with Epic, the conditional nature of a picture with the naturalness of movements, saturated it with colour and air. The 1960s minimalist aesthetics is softly combined with an oriental colour, showing the compositional miracles – multi-figured, simple and harmonious – almost Biblical, like in the frescoes. People gathered for the dinner, and an evil serpent appeared. No need to panic: Rikki-Tikki-Tavi shall drive out a cobra from this part of Eden.


cross-posted in http://alek-morse.livejournal.com/50488.html


Rikki-Tikki-Tavi - Soviet cartoon film based on R. Kipling's tale (1965) Soyuzmultfilm studio 



Rikki-Tikki-Tavi” (based on Rudyard Kipling’s story), director Alexandra Snezhko-Blotskaya, art-designed by Maks Jerebchevsky, Soyuzmultfilm studio, 1965

Rikki-Tikki-Tavi - Soviet cartoon film based on R. Kipling's tale (1965) Soyuzmultfilm studio 

! -- See the cartoon (without Eng. subs)

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