Updated to add screen grabs from my favorite moments of the film. The integration of live action water footage with the 2D glass layered animation was pure magic. I bought it completely. Perfection. The tree reveal is currently my favorite moment in ANY film, bar none. I have never seen anything so beautiful and poetic. Everything unexplainable about nature and trees was in this scene. How can something that wondrous be successfully achieved?
I also loved the amount of texture in the grass and landscape silhouettes. It felt real. I loved the quiet parade of the snail as it faded into the fog. I thought it was a wonderful feeling when the horse watched the hedgehog float down the river on the back of the fish. The use of light throughout the film was unsurpassed, shown off well in the scene where the firefly was used to hunt for the pot of jam until its mate flew in and lured it away. Pure delight.
This was far too majorly important a piece to stick in the side bar as just a Cool Find.
I saw this 1975 animation this morning on artist Victoria Usova's wonderful blog, Life as a Tea Party. It's the classic Russian animation based on a story by Sergei Kozlov, directed by Yuri Norstein. It's entitled, Hedgehog in the Fog (Yozhik v Tumane - ёжик в тумане) and is presented with english subtitles from the Russian.
I was stunned by this animated short film's direction primarily. There are moments in this masterpiece, my friends, where the director has fully realized pure visual poetry. The layers, the depth of the layering, the delicate sense of the fog, his choices of perspective, and more, make this quite possibly the finest animation I've ever seen to date. There are moments in this, specifically the snail, the tree, the pond water reflection, the stream water live action flawlessly blended with the animation, that are so close to what I'm aiming for with Halfland that it gives me courage to go for it even more.