'We Did Not Know What Was Against the Rules'
Creating 'The Story of a Crime' (1962).
Happy Thursday! In this issue of the Animation Obsessive newsletter, we’re looking at one of the most important cartoons ever made in the USSR: The Story of a Crime (1962).
At a time when Soviet cartoons were mostly fairy tales aimed at children, The Story of a Crime was a satire of modern city life, for adults. Where other projects hewed to more Disney-inspired motion and design, The Story of a Crime was a vibrant experiment in collage and stylized movement. It helped to change everything.
The film came from Fyodor Khitruk (1917–2012), who’d made a name as possibly the best animator working at Soyuzmultfilm in Moscow. He’d been there off-and-on since the ‘30s. Yuri Norstein (Hedgehog in the Fog) knew the legend of Khitruk as a student in the early ‘60s. “I saw him in the corridors of the studio, looked at him from afar with bated breath,” Norstein said.
Khitruk was himself a student of Disney’s films, and called Bambi the greatest work of animation in history.1 But, with The Story of a Crime, he helped to dynamite Disney’s influence on Soviet cartoons.
That’s what we’re exploring today. Here we go!
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