SUMMARY: When he discovers that Cheburashka can’t read, Gena decides it is time for him to go to school.
WHY IT’S HERE: After making his brilliant animated feature film ‘The Mystery of the Third Planet’, Roman Kachanov returned to familiar ground with ‘Cheburashka Goes to School’, the final instalment in his celebrated Cheburashka series. As the final part of an iconic set of films, ‘Cheburashka Goes to School’ is something of an oddity. On the one hand, all the favourite characters return (including my favourite, Shapoklyak, who proves she has yet again relapsed into bad behaviour to the extent of stealing a couple of cars!) and the terrific humour is in place. On the other hand, ‘Cheburashka Goes to School’ is half the length of its predecessors and its rather abrupt ending makes it feel very much like an unfinished piece. After all, the rich mine of possibilities for Cheburashka’s adventures in the classroom are never explored as the characters never get as far as actually getting into the school. Whether the money ran out or Kachanov simply decided he’d had enough of the characters is a mystery but ‘Cheburashka Goes to School’ is both an enjoyable and frustrating end to a wonderful series of shorts.