Friday, 11 February 2011

Youtube Film Club:
Mindbending Russian Animation

Remember Captain Pr0nin? No? Well anyway, my brother has been busy of recent sending me links to a whole raft of really extraordinary science fiction-themed Russian animation from the ‘80s and ‘90s, that I think need to be shared.

Many of these seem to be loosely based on stories by Ray Bradbury – perhaps part of a series taken from his work? They are quite varied in style, suggesting the work of numerous animators/directors rather than a single mastermind, but all seem united by an overriding aesthetic of desperate, post-industrial pessimism.

The images and techniques used has a very late ‘70s/early ‘80s feel to them I think – it puts me in mind of the kind of stuff used by prog rock bands and the like in the late ‘70s, when they realised the jig was up and started making marginally punk-informed statements against Orwellian oppression and so forth (think Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” in particular), and also of sombre ‘80s stuff like Raymond Briggs’ “When The Wind Blows”.

I realise I may not have exactly sold these to you in the preceding paragraphs, but needless to say, they are full of strange and beautiful sounds and images and are well worth your time. Thanks again to Paul for turning me on to them, and I hope you enjoy.

We’ll start off with one that’s a fairly straightforward SF story, with English sub-titles even, and get more abstract and tripped out from thereon in.

As a bonus, here is something Paul describes as being “the beginning of an episode of a more mainstream sci fi show”. All I can say is, you know your country is suffering from serious “chaotic crumbling of monolithic super-state” type angst when shit like this is considered “more mainstream” in relation to anything. Basically it’s a sorta faux-anime deal, featuring: a man piloting a giant penis, many tentacles, shoggoth beasts, much facial hair and a moustachioed man’s head grafted onto an octopus. Ugly, desperate H.R. Giger type vibes all round. The theme tune is awesome and reminds me of the music from Transformers cartoons.Yikes.

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