Note: To activate subtitles, click the CC icon at the bottom of the video.
In 1962, the animator Fyodor Khitruk made his directorial debut with Story of One Crime, a film that broke with a Soviet tendency to make imitations of Disney-style animations. The film, as The Guardian explained in its 2012 obituary for the animator, came as a shock. It was stylistically simple and dealt with themes that Disney films would never touch — like, why would a polite clerk murder two housewives with a frying pan?
Khitruk made other films that were packed with social commentary, often taking aim at abuses in the Soviet system. But, he also made straightforward animations for children, none more famous than his series of films based on AA Milne’s beloved Winnie the Pooh books.
Created between 1969 and 1972, Khitruk’s three films star a bear named “Vinni-Pukh” who looks nothing like the Winnie the Pooh that Westerners grew up with. (You can see the original illustrations of Pooh by E.H. Shepard here.) But viewers will certainly recognize the storyline and spirit of the original Pooh in the Soviet adaptations. For decades, these films have enchanted East European viewers, both young and old. And they still occasionally appear on Russian TV.
Above, you can watch the three animations online. They appear in the order in which they were released: 1) Winnie-the-Pooh (Винни-Пух, 1969), 2) Winnie-the-Pooh Goes on a Visit (Винни-Пух идет в гости, 1971); and 3) Winnie-the-Pooh and the Day of Concern (Винни-Пух и день забот, 1972).
As noted up top, you might need to click the “CC” icon at the bottom of the YouTube videos in order to activate the subtitles. Unfortunately, we can’t vouch for the accuracy of the translations.