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Animation as Artifact: The Cultural Significance of Russian Cartoons

Saturday, September 24, 2-4PM
Members $8, Nonmembers $12, includes Museum admission

Our “Framing Cultures” programs look closely at slices of Russian culture and invite audience members to share their experiences, perspectives, questions and reflections as we collectively view the framed subject.

This program will look at the multi-faceted role the animated cartoon has played in Russian society:  technological innovation, artistic expression, economic commodity, uplifting entertainment, and a vehicle for showcasing Russian values, achievements, traditions and character to its children and the world at large.

Animation has been an important component of Russian culture ever since Alexander Shiryaev produced the world’s first stop motion cartoon in 1906. Cartoons were one of communist Russia’s most famous cultural products, with multiple studios producing thousands of films, from technically complex works to unique auteur films.  According to CEO Marat Ganiev of Tatarmultfilm animation studio, “Soviet cartoon animation [was always] the ray of light in the depressing atmosphere of the soviet propaganda machine.” The robust animation industry nearly collapsed with the fall of the USSR, but in the last decade it has been revived with financial support from the government.

We’ll view a selection of classic Russian animated cartoons; share our impressions and interpretations; compare them to classic American cartoons; and discuss what they can teach us about Russian artistry, humor and culture.

Please note that this is an adult-oriented program interspersing presentation and discussion. We will be planning future screenings of cartoon collections for children (and adults!) to enjoy.