Friday, 18 June 2010

Nikolay Fedorov "Dragonfly and Ant" (1961)

Dragonfly and Ant parallels the lives of the two insects, both representing totally different approaches to life, one without a care in the world, the other industrious. Thus, whilst our pink, see-through, tutu clad flyer slumbers in bed or dances on flower heads, every need catered for by nature’s bounty, the busy ants toil away in construction, providing for the winter months. The film is just as well made as anything by Disney plus there is gentle subtly in the humour – the sleeping ant in the light bulb or distorted image in the raindrop mirror come to mind. There is also something of a moral tale, the piece being based on one of Aesop’s fables via the pen of the Russian writer and fabulist, Ivan Krylov. The depiction of the ants at work is wonderfully ingenious, something of a Flintstones world in miniature scale, snails and grasshoppers replacing brontosaurus and saber tooth. (The Flintstones series commenced in 1960, one year earlier than this.) The tone though is entirely different. Nikolay Fedorov’s entertaining classic is a charming world. The aesthete dragonfly of course gets her comeuppance, winter arrives and the workers are not so forthcoming in their hospitality, enjoying the festival merriment whilst our dancer finds a leaf small comfort in the snow. But the mood of the piece is such as to pave the way for an entirely apt conclusion.

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