Yuri Norstein is a Russian animator. This “legend” of contemporary animation used cut outs as his medium for animation. Yuri became prominent in the community because of his series of animated shorts which were aimed towards family audiences in the 1970’s. These shorts were notable for their art style and the mood they created. Most of his pieces give off a tragic or sorrowful vibe (“Yuri”). The tragic and sorrowful vibe is really shown in a large majority of his shorts, some examples are: Hedgehog in the Fog, 1975; The Fox and the Hare, 1973; and Tale of Tales, 1979. In all of these shorts which were part of the series Yuri used cut outs. In every short Yuri did a fabulous and pretty much seamless job with animating the cut outs. With these cut outs he illustrated many already told famous tales.
In Yuri’s film called Hedgehog in the Fog he used different layers to create one single character. I will use this technique in my animation. Yuri also used multiple layers to create depth and allowing characters to pass between fields. I will use multiple depths in my animation as well, to enhance the feel of the animation. When in the fog the hedgehog is very scared by other animals like a dog and in my animation I will include this emotion. I will use another larger animal like in this animation to scare my smaller main character. In the film The Fox and the Hare, directed by Yuri Norstein, he did a nice job staging the wolf at 3:06 to 3:40. Yuri did a great job at keeping the knife and form to the sides of the character rather than in front of the torso. With them off to the side it helps you to always see them and put emphasis on what is there. When the wolf stands in front of the hare with its mouth open and utensils showing it creates suspense. In my animation I will create suspense by having the larger animal walk onto screen and have my smaller main character hide behind a tree while the predator is just one step away. In this film the wolf also walks on all four feet from 3:42 to 3:52. In my animation I will have both characters walk on all four feet. I will design my bear in my animation to resemble the bear in this animation, although I will have my bear walk on four feet. In Tale of Tales directed by Yuri Norstein he makes the dog a very sad and lonely character during the fire scene at 12:43 to 16:20. In my animation I am trying to make the forest a scary and disconnected place. I am going to make to my character sad and lonely in order to get that message across. I am designing my character’s face to resemble that of the wolve’s to try to capture the feelings of scared and lonely. I will have my character stand on two feet like most of his characters when my main character is hiding behind a tree.
Yuri Norstein is set apart from the rest of the animators. His style, technique, and finished products really show how he is far different than others and it is not a bad thing. His use of the multiplane is masterfully executed (2). Yuri takes advantage of the multiplane to help create depth in his pieces and to make the environment and piece more lively. Yuri believed that a film begins to be developed while it is in the works (2). Norstein said, “This may be detrimental from the standpoint of production, but from the standpoint of creation I think it allows for a more transformable content than if everything had been pre-planned.” (2). This quote explains the reasoning for his means of limited production (2). In Norstein’s pieces he intentionally increases the aesthetic and emotional convincingness of each scene so that their individual effect will liken the “specific gravity” of one instant as intense and affecting as any one other, as it is logged in the memory (Wells, 94). This means that when designing a piece Yuri intentionally ensures that each scene is just as dramatic and intense as the others. He is very effective when using this technique. Many of his pieces are very consistent with their feelings and how intense each happening is. Norstein’s work requires the viewers to analyze and emphasize with the dimensions of feelings and emotions in his works (Wells, 95). This helps the viewer to become more involved in his pieces and for his pieces to relate more with the viewers. He wants the viewers to relate to his works so they can understand his pieces on an emotional level. Norstein favored to focus on each individual character’s inner world. He tried to enable the viewer the introspection and subjective involvement to the best of his ability to allow the viewers the deepest possible outcome (Bendazzi, 304). This is easily seen in his works and he does a great job helping the viewer to achieve this action. Yuri makes his pieces contain a lot of emotions and feelings. When viewing his pieces people can easily feel and see the emotions that Yuri is attempting to get across.
Yuri is a very well known Russian animator. His success is accredited to the emotional feel of all of his pieces. He works to make people relate to his works and view his pieces on a deeper and more meaningful level. While he is doing so he is extremely good at what he does with the multiplane. Without his use of the multiplane his works would not be quite the same. The multiplane allows different depths and fields in his pieces. The different depths allow for a more lively and interesting view of the piece which is exactly what he wants. Yuri wants people to be visually drawn to his work to tie them in with his emotional pull. He wants people to feel and relate with his works. People feeling when viewing his works is the most important thing to him when it comes to his pieces. Every second of each work is dependant on the emotional overcast of the piece.
Bendazzi, Giannalberto. Animation: A World History: Volume II: The Birth of a Style – The
Three Markets. CRC Press. 2016.
Hedgehog in the Fog [Yuriy Norshteyn, 1975]
“The Fox and the Hare ” – Yuri Norstein
Tale of Tales 1979
“Yuri Norstein, Russian Animator – Harvard Film Archive.” Yuri Norstein, Russian Animator
Harvard Film Archive. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2016.
Wells, Paul. Understanding Animation. Routledge. 1998.