477. Shapoklyak – Roman Kachanov

Ed Catmull Computer Animated Hand

SUMMARY: Gena and Cheburashka’s train journey to the seaside is cut short when Shapoklyak steals their tickets. But ultimately the three unite to tackle poachers and pollution.

WHY IT’S HERE: The third of Roman Kachanov’s celebrated Cheburashka films is also the best, thanks to a more expansive and cinematic story which makes its twenty minutes more consistently gripping than previous, more leisurely-paced outings. After her noticeable absence in the second instalment, naughty old lady Shapoklyak makes a welcome reappearance and earns the honour of having the short named after her. Shapoklyak is the best and funniest creation in the Cheburashka shorts, her impish behaviour seeming amusingly incongruous with her elderly appearance and gloomy black attire. With a keen eye on narrative continuity, Kachanov suggests that jealousy at not having been invited on a trip as the reason for Shapoklyak’s return to bad behaviour (she was somewhat abruptly reformed at the end of 1969’s ‘Gena the Crocodile’) and then adds some real environmental issues into the plot in order to allow her to redeem herself once more in time for a delightful musical finale.

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