324. The Golden Antelope – Lev Atamanov

song-of-the-prairie

SUMMARY: A young boy attempts to protect a magic antelope from a greedy rajah.

WHY IT’S HERE: Lev Atamanov was one of the great Soviet animators, with his feature film ‘The Snow Queen’ being an acknowledged influence on Hayao Miyazaki in first getting him interested in animation. A few years before ‘The Snow Queen’, Atamanov made this terrific half-hour animation based on an Indian folk tale about an antelope who can strike gold with its hooves. The style is magically storybookish, with brightly coloured backgrounds and a strong divide between good and evil. The animation appears to be partly rotoscoped but this does not detract from the forceful impact of the enjoyable story and the eye-catching artwork. This is a treasure worth unearthing from one of animation’s hidden gem directors. Atamanov would also go on to make ‘The Key’ aka ‘Klyuch’, one of the great underrated animated features.

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