Saturday, March 03, 2007

Wait for me, rabbit

The other day somebody sent me a link to a youtube video that had scenes from an old Russian cartoon, "Nu pogodi, zajets", remixed and combined with a soundtrack by Rammstein. The video was not that good but the "Related" links rocked: somebody has uploaded all the old Nu Pogodi episodes every soviet kid adored! I had jolly good times watching them. They just do not make stuff like this any more. The whole thing is full of platnoi (sort of crook in Russia, amazingly google could not spit out any good links and my keyboard is too weak to go into detail here) references, signs of Soviet everyday life, reflections on different campaigns that frequently sweeped the great country and so on.

Also, they are refreshingly politically incorrect. And not in a way South Park is (which is apparently created under influence of controlled substances without any desire to reflect reality) but it shows how things really were. Look at the very first scene of the third episode. The wolf steps out of a makeshift garage (a _very_ familiar sight for everyone who has lived in the USSR) and lights a cigarette. And he lights it from the filter side.

And the music. It's a miracle: every scene has it's very own piece of music perfectly matched to it. The authors have not confined themselves to one style, oh no. They have picked tunes from folk to propaganda to rock to pop. Marvelous!

As opposed to Tom & Jerry and others, these cartoons were produced in very low volume. Between 1978 and 1985 only 15 episodes were made. In fact they produced more but the ones above 15 are not true to the original spirit and can not really be considered as part of the series.

Part social experiment, part attempt to amuse the crowd, I played one episode to my class during a coffee break. They are a mixed lot of various ages looking to get an additional degree in accounting. Most of the people enjoyed it and knew most of the scenes by heart but there actually were a couple of people to whom it really didn't say anything. On one hand it is a pity we don't remember good things that are not yet that ancient. On the other, it is probably better there is a new generation for whom the Soviet times is just something their parents sometimes talk about.

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