Soviet cartoons

Posted: April 10, 2013 by jennroig in Chronicles, English
Tags: , , , ,

If you were a Cuban child in the 80s, the odds are you grew up watching Soviet cartoons. Everyday between 6PM and 7PM, Cuban TV offered cartoon diet to children which included home made cartoons -Elpidio Valdés, Cecilín y Coty, Matojo- US cartoons -oldies from Disney starring Donald Duck, Mickey and Pluto- and Soviet cartoons like those with Lolek & Bolek.

Lolek & Bolek

Lolek & Bolek

For some reason, I think it was a shared feeling that we would rather watched some story about Donald freaking out and getting violent about anything important than watching these two kids -I suppose brothers- doing whatever good and educative and valuable action they were engaged with.

Yes, a cold analysis would indicate that Soviets were more sensitive in their cartoons than yankees or Cubans. Coyote would explode anything with TNT with no remorse to finally get roadrunner. Elpidio Valdés was no better with the machete. Well, maybe a bit better. But there was anything as boring as Misha. So, my guess is that cultural taste is influenced by something more deep and ancestral than education. It must be something in the gut that make us all Cuban kids to find very difficult to identify ourselves with Soviet stories.

Bremenskie Muzykanty

Bremenskie Muzykanty

Sure some would claim there were exceptions. Some would remember The Bremen Musicians, which are actually Soviet even though I grew up believing it was German, from the GDR.

The Golden Antelope was also another cool one, and maybe that one about the frog princes, a girl that was a captive of a witch’s curse, the Baba Yaga, and prince Ivan had to walf many miles looking for her to save her.

But other than that, in general, Soviet cartoons were silent, boring, depressive.

There were two in particular I remember as really sad. One told the story of two clouds, friends with each other, playing games in the sky. One passed over a chimney and got dirty. Then the black cloud was sad and didn’t want to play with the white cloud anymore -I wonder how my black friends would interpret that particular tale. Out of generosity, looking at the depressed friend, the white cloud went up in the sky until fell down as rain. The rain cleaned the black cloud that felt happy to be white again. But now she was alone, with no one to play with anymore.

The other was about a sick boy. He couldn’t move out of bed, while watching the kids across the street playing something with a ball -volley, basket, don’t remember… Then a cloud came down to him taking the shape of a dog and took him to fly the sky and have fun together. Again a cloud, what’s the deal with clouds in the Soviet culture? But as everything good must come to an end, the cloud-dog had to take back the boy, who could only watch from the bed to his weird friend to fly away and vanish in the sky, while the other kids were still playing happy with the ball.

I wonder what kind of memories do the kids from my generation have about Soviet cartoons.


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