419. The Mitten – Roman Kachanov

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SUMMARY: A little girl who is forbidden from adopting a neighbour’s puppy imagines her mitten is a dog.

WHY IT’S HERE: Roman Kachanov’s ‘The Mitten’ is a charming, sweet classic of Russian puppet animation. Set against a snowy winter backdrop, ‘The Mitten’ unlocks the door to a young girl’s imagination as she conjures up a small, red, knitted puppy from her mitten so she can play alongside the neighbourhood dog owners and their real pooches. The puppets, particularly the girl, the dog and the girl’s distant mother, are wonderfully emotive through the smallest movements, enhanced by their blinking eyes and changing expressions that differentiates them from forerunners like Jiri Trnka’s marionettes. The simple story taps into the audiences emotions without being too sentimental, making it winningly touching rather than exploitatively cloying. Kachanov, who would go on to make the ‘Cheburashka’ trilogy and the classic 80s animated feature ‘Mystery of the Third Planet’, made an indelible mark with ‘The Mitten’ which was embraced as a classic of Russian animation.

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