SUMMARY: A little hedgehog sets out on a journey through the woods to see his friend the bear cub. But as he becomes lost in the fog, he begins to perceive everything around him as a threat.
WHY IT’S HERE: With ‘Hedgehog in the Fog’ Yuriy Norshteyn made his first masterpiece and one of the most enduring short animations of all time. On paper, the plot sounds similar to other stories in which characters become lost in the woods, such as ‘The Wind in the Willows’, but ‘Hedgehog in the Fog’ takes a far less narratively clean-cut approach than that. As the little hedgehog begins to perceive threats all around him in the dense fog he becomes more and more troubled until he eventually resigns himself to death as he floats along a river. An encounter with an unseen stranger helps him survive, while crossing paths with a large white horse who stands higher than the fog can reach has a profound effect on him. At the end of ‘Hedgehog in the Fog’, the main character finds safety but is clearly deeply changed forever by his experiences. There are many meanings that viewers can project onto ‘Hedgehog in the Fog’ and it can also be enjoyed as merely a journey through a spooky forest, although the deeper resonance of the white horse will probably register with even the youngest child. Norshteyn’s character design and animation is absolutely perfect for the material and the suggestion of the fog and the forest surroundings are wonderfully immersive. Made more alluring by its very otherness, ‘Hedgehog in the Fog’ is an animation never to be forgotten once seen and which has the power to deeply move everyone from adults to the youngest of children.