579. Breakfast on the Grass – Priit Parn

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SUMMARY: Four individuals struggling to live under a harsh Soviet regime are brought together in a version of Manet’s painting ‘Le Dejeuner sur l’herbe’.

WHY IT’S HERE: Estonian animator Priit Parn was unique amongst Soviet animators in both his style and subject matter. Unlike the Disney-esque offerings of the dominant Soyuzmultfilm, Parn depicted life under the Soviet regime through scratchy, primitively drawn images and surreal, blackly comic storylines. Perhaps Parn’s most famous film, ‘Breakfast on the Grass’ is both devastatingly bleak and oddly amusing as we witness four individuals struggle to exist in a world where apples can only be obtained through sexual favours, where life’s necessities can literally cost you the shirt off your back and where facelessness is a real condition. These perplexing but always fascinating vignettes merge into a meeting of the four protagonists who settle into a recreation of Manet’s famous painting ‘Le Dejeuner sur l’herbe’, from where the film gets its title. Highly influential, Parn’s work has managed to touch even the American popular culture, by way of his heavy influence over Igor Kovalyov, a surrealist animator whose work on shows such as ‘Rugrats’ helped bring the unusual into the world of mainstream children’s entertainment.

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