Estonian Animation: Between Genius and Utter Illiteracy

Estonian Animation: Between Genius and Utter Illiteracy

Estonian Animation: Between Genius and Utter Illiteracy

Estonian Animation: Between Genius and Utter Illiteracy

Synopsis

Ever wonder why Estonian animation features so many carrots or why cows often perform pyramids? Well, neither question is answered in Chris Robinson's new book, Estonian Animation. Robinson's frank, humorous, and thoroughly researched book traces the history of Estonia's acclaimed animation scene from early experiments in the 1930s to the creation of puppet (Nukufilm) and cel (Joonisfilm) animation studios during the Soviet era, as well as Estonia's surprising international success during the post-Soviet era. In addition, Robinson writes about the discovery of films by four 1960s animation pioneers who, until the release of this book, had been unknown to most Estonian and international animation historians.

Excerpt

Pedantic “history” prose

It is not only astonishing that a country like Estonia, with a population of only 1.4 million (of which 1 million are native Estonians), has created very unique and challenging animation over the past thirty years, but also that it has been accomplished in a short time frame under often hostile circumstances. Led by the likes of Priit Pärn, Mati Kütt, Rein Raamat and Elbert Tuganov, Estonian animation can be characterized by its strange combination of the rational and absurd. While the work varies from animator to animator, there is an underlying philosophical, political and ethical nature to the films, which examines how individual identity is affected by shifting ideological structures. in the world of Estonian animation there is no good or bad, no black or white, no single truth. Instead, we find, as Heraclitus once said, “combinations, wholes and not wholes, concurring differing, concordant discordant, from all things one and from one all things.” Oh and hey, before you run off in fear of dark eastern european angst, let me tell you, many of these films and filmmakers are damn funny, not in a Benny Hill manner, but more in a Monty Python-Marcel Duchamp-Hugo Ball vein.

It was recently discovered that Estonian animation dates back to the early 1930s and a film entitled Kutsu Juku seiklused (The Adventures of Juku the Dog, 1931). However, the first Estonian animation studio, Nukufilm, a division of the State’s live-action studio Tallinna Kinostuudio, was not created until 1957. Headed by Elbert Tuganov and Heino Pars, Nukufilm’s early films, all puppet or cut-out animations, were aimed primarily at children, but as the films grew more satirical and at times poetic, the studio’s output eventually became more tailored to an adult audience. in the 1960s, Kalju Kurepõld and Ants Looman made the first drawn animation films for the Soviet Newsreel, Futile (Fuse), followed by commercials for Eesti Reklaamfilm (Estonian Advertisingfilm). Shortly thereafter Ants Kivirähk and Jaak Palmse made . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.