Туманный феномен анимации

XX Международный конкурс научно-исследовательских и творческих работ учащихся
Старт в науке

Туманный феномен анимации

Карелова У.В. 1
1МБОУ "Средняя общеобразовательная школа №1 им. А.С.Пушкина"
Михайлова О.В. 1
1МБОУ "Средняя общеобразовательная школа №1 им. А.С.Пушкина"
Автор работы награжден дипломом победителя II степени
Текст работы размещён без изображений и формул.
Полная версия работы доступна во вкладке "Файлы работы" в формате PDF


The world of cartoons is amazing and multifaceted. There are many different animated films that entertain children of different ages. Animation is improving constantly and various works are being produced not only for children, but also for adults. Various drawings excite the mind and impress. The main postulates of animation are bright and colorful works; they contain a lot of laughter and fun.The main task of the animators is to entertain the younger generation. These works usually do not make much sense. But there are cartoons that try to convey important things to us. These sketches are more suitable for adults, not for small children.

The meaning of many cartoons lies on the surface and teaches young viewers important things in plain text. These works often tell us about kindness, friendship, love and decent behavior. But sometimes the meaning of the cartoon is so confusing that adults take a long time to comprehend the animation and cannot grasp the main idea. Such sketches are often not appreciated adequately and many children do not like them and do not try to understand the basic essence.

About 10 years ago, when I was a small child, I really loved funny toons in which the characters were active and kind. But one day, I came across a very ambiguous production called "Hedgehog in the Fog." I remember that I was not impressed by the drawing of this cartoon, and also completely misunderstood the meaning. This cartoon was very grey, and the main character was thoughtful and sad who asked questions, the meaning of which I could not understand. At that moment, I simply turned off the TV and did not finish watching it.

Recently, this cartoon again appeared on my hearing! To my great surprise, I heard that "The Hedgehog in the Fog" was recognized as "the cartoon of all times and peoples". I didn't understand why. Well, hedgehog and hedgehog, there is no plot, the picture is ugly, what is everyone so enthusiastic about? I decided to figure it out... Moreover, I`ve decided to conduct a study and find out how people of different ages perceive this cartoon .

Therefore, I set up my goal: to find out and analyze the meaning of the cartoon "Hedgehog in the Fog" and understand the reason why this project was recognized the best one in the world.

I should solve the following problems in order to achieve my goals:

  • To watch the cartoon "Hedgehog in the Fog" and analyze its plot in detail;

  • To organize a watching of the cartoon "Hedgehog in the Fog" by elementary, middle and high school students, as well as parents of class 10, conduct a survey among them in order to analyze the perception of this cartoon by people of different ages;

To consider the opinion of famous critics in order to understand their point of view as well as the reason for the popularity of this animation

  • To study books about the mythology of the world and to find out the necessary information;

To consider the animation "Hedgehog in the fog" from different points of view and also find new details in this cartoon;

  • To acquaint people of different ages with the conclusions made during the writing of the research paper and find out their thoughts about the cartoon after a detailed analysis.

I think it would be wise to start my project with the information about cartoons and the material about Soviet animator Yuri Norstein.

1. Theoretical Part

1.1 Cartoon

A cartoon is a type of visual art that is typically drawn, frequently animated, in an unrealistic or semi-realistic style. The specific meaning has evolved over time, but the modern usage usually refers to either: an image or series of images intended for satire, caricature, or humor; or a motion picture that relies on a sequence of illustrations for its animation. Someone who creates cartoons in the first sense is called a cartoonist, and in the second sense they are usually called an animator.

The concept originated in the Middle Ages, and first described a preparatory drawing for a piece of art, such as a painting, fresco, tapestry, or stained glass window. In the 19th century, beginning in Punch magazine in 1843, cartoon came to refer – ironically at first – to humorous artworks in magazines and newspapers. Then it also was used for political cartoons and comic strips. When the medium developed, in the early 20th century,it began to refer to animated films which resembled print cartoons.

What can cartoons teach us? Cartoons are essential part of every childhood. They are, certainly, the most popular entertainment for children, but also much more than that. With the help of cartoons kids can learn about the world around us, about new emotions, life issues and other important things.

1.2 Yuri Borisovich Norstein

Soviet and Russian animator Yuri Norstein was born in 1941. Norstein has been behind some of the most iconic cartoons from the Soviet era, and The Washington Post has said "He is considered by many to be not just the best animator of his era, but the best of all time."

Norstein was born in the Penza region of Russia, where his family was evacuated as Nazi troops advanced toward Moscow. Two years later, his family returned to the capital, where they lived in a communal apartment with several other families. Despite studying at an art school, his first job was in carpenting. After two more years of animation classes, Norstein got hired in 1961 at Soyuzmultfilm, the Soviet Union’s top animation studio.

From 1961-1973 he worked as an animator on some of the most iconic Soviet cartoons, including “Levsha” (“Left-Handed”), “Kanikuli Bonifatsia,” (“Boniface’s Holiday), “Varezka” (“Mitten”). 

But during his first years at Soyuzmultfilm, Norstein wanted to quit animation and unsuccessfully applied to art school several times. “I met many brilliant directors at Soyuzmultfilm,” the Vokrug.tv website quoted Norstein as saying, “but my desire to quit was equal to my dislike of animation; I dreamed of painting pictures.”

Eventually, he abandoned these attempts and decided to work toward becoming a director. 

In 1973, Norstein started to direct his first animated films for Soyuzmultfilm, and it was from this point that he would be showered in national and international accolades for his work. A year later, Norstein won first place at the 1974 All-Union Film Festival for his cartoon “The Fox and The Hare.” 

In 1975, his most famous film, “Hedgehog in the Fog,” was released to widespread acclaim.The hedgehog himself was an spur-of-the-moment creation, according to Norstein, as the filmmaking team couldn’t decide how the character ought to look. 

Apparently, it got to a point when either the hedgehog has to work out well, or I have to explode,” Vokrug.tv quoted Norstein as saying. “I remember sitting with the film’s artist and Norstein’s wife Francesca Yarbusova and I started shouting so much that she just sat down and drew him. Just right away – done! But I still can’t figure out how we made him so well.”

In 1979, Norstein released another famous movie, “Skazka Skazok” (“Tale of Tales”). In 1984, it was voted to be the best animated film of all time at the Los Angeles Olympic Arts Festival. In 2003, it fell to second place on the ranking as “Hedgehog in the Fog” took the top spot.

In 1981, he started working on “The Overcoat,” a film based on Nikolai Gogol’s novel of the same name. In 1985, Soyuzmultfilm fired him because he was taking too long to finish the film. To this day, Norstein continues to work on the project, with some 25 minutes estimated to be completed so far. The decades-long delay has been linked to his perfectionism that has earned him the nickname “The Golden Snail.”

Norstein does not use computer animation in his films, instead relying on physical mediums to create three-dimensional effects. He’s best known for using multiple layers of glass panes to create an image.

He has published multiple books on the art of animation and has given seminars in Britain, Italy, France, United States and many other countries. The renowned Soviet animator holds an honorary doctorate of fine arts at the Rhode Island School of Design. Acclaimed Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki has called Norstein a “brilliant artist” whom he admires.

Norstein has been an outspoken critic on major events in present-day Russia, speaking out against the convictions of Pussy Riot members for their anti-Putin performance in Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral as well as the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in prison after he exposed corruption in the Russian government. [8].

1.3 Mythology

Myths are a part of every culture in the world and are used to explain natural phenomena, where people came from and how their civilization developed, and why things happen as they do. At their most basic level, myths comfort by giving a sense of order and meaning to what can sometimes seem a chaotic world.

Mythology (from the Greek mythos for story-of-the-people, and logos for word or speech, so the spoken story of a people) is the study and interpretation of often sacred tales or fables of a culture known as myths or the collection of such stories which deal with various aspects of the human condition: good and evil; the meaning of suffering; human origins; the origin of place-names, animals, cultural values, and traditions; the meaning of life and death; the afterlife; and celestial stories of the gods or a god. Myths express the beliefs and values about these subjects held by a certain culture.

Mythology has played an integral part in every civilization throughout the world. Pre-historic cave paintings, etchings in stone, tombs, and monuments all suggest that, long before human beings set down their myths in words, they had already developed a belief structure corresponding to the definition of `myth' provided by Leach and Fried. According to twentieth century psychiatrist Carl Jung, myth is a necessary aspect of the human psyche which needs to find meaning and order in a world which often presents itself as chaotic and meaningless

What one calls “mythology” in the present day, it should be remembered, was the religion of the ancient past. The stories which make up the corpus of ancient mythology served the same purpose for the people of the time as the stories from accepted scripture do for people today: they explained, comforted, and directed an audience and, further, provided a sense of unity, cohesion, and protection to a community of like-minded believers.

There are many different types of myth but, essentially, they can be grouped into three:

*Etiological Myths

Etiological myths explain why a certain thing is the way it is or how it came to be. This type of myth is usually defined as an origin story.

*Historical Myths

Historical myths retell an event from the past but elevate it with greater meaning than the actual event (if it even happened).

Psychological Myths

Psychological myths present one with a journey from the known to the unknown which represents a psychological need to balance the external world with one's internal consciousness of it. However that may be, the story of the myth itself usually involves a hero or heroine on a journey in which they discover their true identity or fate and, in so doing, resolve a crisis while also providing an audience with some important cultural value.

It was understood in the ancient world that the purpose of a myth was to provide the hearer with a truth which the audience then interpreted for themselves within the value system of their culture. Apprehension of reality was left up to the interpretation of the individual encountering the values expressed in the myths instead of having that reality interpreted for them by an authority figure. [2].

2. Practical Part

2.1 “Hedgehog in the Fog”

Russian and East European animation, is a world away from Disney's sanitized world where nothing bad ever happens. While Disney strived for animation perfection, where the movement of Snow White's dress is more important than the story, the European and Soviet school of animation was always more about the story.

"Hedgehog in the fog" is one of the best examples of the difference between the two schools of animation. If Disney had made it, the little Hedgehog would probably have been reduced to a Winnie the Pooh type creature and no doubt there would have been a catchy song or two to jolly it all along. All the other animals would have had speaking parts, there would have been jokes and no doubt there would have been a big musical finale when Hedgehog and Bear are re-united around the camp fire.

So, it goes without saying that it's a good job that it was made by Yuri Norstein instead.

Yuri Norshtein recalled that when he and his wife Franchesca Yarbusova (with whom he’s worked on all his films) tried to figure out what the titular character should actually look like, they found inspiration in ‘The Zvenigorod Saviour’, an icon featuring Jesus Christ’s face painted by Andrei Rublyov. The icon happened to convey the spirit of the character that Norstein sought to mirror in his animation. The animator described it as a “feeling of the character’s universality”.

And yet, no one believed in the success of ‘Hedgehog in the Fog’. When Norstein pitched his project to the state Soviet commission that was supposed to give the green light to the production of the film, he was asked why he chose such a boring story for the production in the first place. For want of a better response, the animator quoted Dante: “Midway upon the journey of our life I found myself within a forest dark.” Miraculously, it worked and Norstein was given the go-ahead.

Hedgehog in the Fog’ is often interpreted as a parable and the river into which the Hedgehog falls is compared to Styx (the river that separates Earth and the Greek Underworld) and Lethe, the river of forgetfulness. “Every day, the Hedgehog goes to the Bear Cub, but once, he walks in through the fog and comes out of it a different person. This is a story about how, under the influence of some circumstances which we are totally unaware of, our habitual state can suddenly turn into a catastrophe,” Norstein explained.

Well, Yuri Norstein created his most iconic cartoon creature, the Hedgehog, in 1975. Since then, his animated masterpiece has collected numerous international awards and was ranked No. 1 in a poll at the 2003 Laputa Animation Festival in Japan, where 140 animators from across the globe picked out the best animated films in history.The main purpose of the survey was to determine what kind of work experts consider "cartoon of all time" . Thus, the work of Yuri Norshtein became known in almost all countries. With such an unexpected choice, film critics and animators spurred the world community to reveal the philosophical idea of this project. A good film is one that, after watching it, leaves questions in a person that need to be answered. The list of Hedgehog prizes does not end there: Norshtein's creation was awarded the very first award long before the Tokyo triumph - in 1976 at the XI International Film Festival for Children and Youth in Tehran. This was followed by honors at the XIII IFF in Chicago, in 1977 the cartoon was awarded the prize of the XV IFF in Gijon, and in 1978 a prickly guest from the USSR conquered the XXVIII IFF in Melbourne. Norshtein's bright surrealism is a phantasmagoria of everyday routine, which is familiar to everyone, but also incomprehensible at the same time. Haven't you ever wanted to embellish the world, make it unusual, so that at least one evening turns out to be unlike the thousands already lived ... In a sense, Yuri is not just a director, but a science fiction artist. At the same time, he tries to use a minimum of spectacular special effects and bright graphics.

What he made is a beautiful, lyrical and deceptively simple animated story of how a curious little hedgehog takes a detour through the mysterious fog on the way to see his friend, the little bear, gets lost and then finds his way out again.

But I should say that there is much, much more in this little movie than just that!

2.2 The Survey “What Is the Cartoon About?”

As you know the aim of my project is to find out the ideas of the cartoon "The Hedgehog in the Fog" and understand the reason why this project was recognized the best one in the world.

Well, first of all, I was very interested in the question of how people of different ages understood this cartoon. That`s why I invited elementary, middle, high school pupils, as well as parents of our class to watch this cartoon. Having watched it, I conducted a survey among the participants, as well as a discussion of the cartoon, with the help of which I found out their perception of this cartoon. ( Annex A). The results of my research you can see below. ( Annex B).

2.2.1 Pupils of Primary School

Well, the majority of the respondents didn’t understand this cartoon. It is not surprising, because the meaning of this cartoon is shown in a very unusual way. I think that even if we reveal the real meaning of this cartoon, it will still be difficult for children to understand. About 16% of children think that this cartoon is about bravery. Maybe they saw bravery in the main character, but I think that Hedgehog is on the contrary cowardly. The main character gets into a fog and gets scared so it can be perfectly understood. Once in an uncomfortable situation, we all feel bad, so the hedgehog cannot be brave, but he is uncomfortable and scared. Well, 24% find the fear in this masterpiece. It is not surprising, because the biggest part of the cartoon is based on the fear of the hedgehog. Almost the whole movie, the hedgehog experiences this emotion and desperately wants to get out, which in the end he succeeds. Finally, 20% of respondents say that this animation is about friendship. Of course, this cartoon shows us friendship between the hedgehog and a bear, but the main point of the cartoon is not about it. I should say that this cartoon does not reflect friendship, but much deeper things.

2.2.2 Pupils of Secondary School

Looking at the diagram, you can see that the answers of secondary school pupils and the answers of primary school pupils are practically the same. I am glad that the children of this age group did not find bravery in this animation. Next, we can see that the pupils also consider that friendship and fear are the main meanings of the cartoon. Honestly, I'm not surprised that their answers coincided. It is possible that the children just watched it without any interest and it didn't impress them at all. Unfortunately, the biggest part of the pupils of secondary school didn’t understand the meaning of this cartoon either. Perhaps when they grow up, they will think about the true meaning of this work.

2.2.3 Pupils of High School

Honestly, I was amazed by the reflections of high school pupils. They were divided into three groups. Most children think that this cartoon is about insecurity in life. The hedgehog in the fog symbolizes a person in an unfamiliar environment. The owl symbolizes the secret fears and insecurities that haunt the main character. Animals in the fog show strangers in our lives. Each animal is completely different, which shows the heterogeneity of characters of our society. The hedgehog walks around a tree that symbolizes his inner world, but in the end the tree turns out to be empty. The hedgehog is trying to find its purpose in the horse and asks the question whether the horse will drown if it lies down in the fog. Тhe forked tree symbolizes the ways of choice in our life. The snail symbolizes time that is slowly dragging on. In the end, the hedgehog decides to give up and go with the flow of the river. It is worth noting that the hedgehog falls into the river when he goes to the voice of his friend. Does it mean that friends can't always help us? The cartoon shows that any kind of the help can come not from friends but from completely strangers to us, using the examples of the hedgehog and a dog which brings him a lost package and an invisible fish that helps the hedgehog get to the river bank.

The next group of respondents believes that this animation is about madness. According to their theory, the hedgehog represents chaos, and the fog represents madness. The hedgehog gets into the fog, and it drives him crazy. The owl symbolizes the fears that haunt the hedgehog. A bag of jam symbolizes a connection with the outside world. Therefore, having lost a jar of jam, the hedgehog begins to panic. Fireflies look like stars that the hedgehog often likes to look at in its normal state. After looking at the fireflies, the music in the cartoon immediately changes and the hedgehog stubbornly goes on. The stars is a kind of a symbol of infinity. The forked tree symbolizes sound thinking and inadequate thinking. All animals are just images in the fantasy of the hedgehog who finds himself in a stressful situation. When the hedgehog decides to go with the flow, he lets madness take hold of him. In the end, something helps him get out of this state and the character again owns his mind and feelings. His fantasy clearly draws him a horse as white as light, which the hedgehog thinks about even after an attack sitting with a bear.

The smallest part of the students think that this story is about the afterlife. The owl represents death, which pushes the hedgehog into the fog, which is the world of the dead. Animals symbolize souls in this world. The horse in this matter is a guide to the afterlife. The hedgehog wonders if the horse will drown if it lies down in the fog, but the animal is already dead. The forked tree shows two worlds: the world of the living and the world of the dead. The hedgehog tries his best to get out of the fog, but in the end gives up and decides to stay by the river and finally go to the world of the dead.

2.2.4 Adults over 30 Years Old

Well, the diagram shows that most of adults think that this animated film tells us about the rich imagination of the hedgehog. Once in the fog, his fantasy plays a cruel joke on him and scares the main character with scary images. This version is similar to one about madness of the high school pupils. This option may exist because in difficult situations we sometimes scare ourselves. Also, this version claims that there were no animals, but there was only a mysterious hedgehog savior. Well, it is quite possible that this was actually the case. 31% of respondents voted for fear, as well as for secondary and primary school students. Of course, fear is the first thing that comes to mind when watching this cartoon. Adults are quite skeptical about watching cartoons, so they did not think about the true meaning of this work. Fear lies on the surface of this animation, but is not its main meaning. Some people think that this story is about the society that surrounds us. In the fog, the hedgehog sees new animals with completely different characters, which scares him. This theory is similar to the high school version of uncertainty in life. The hedgehog enters a new environment for which he was not ready and immediately begins to panic. It happens when you are not adapted to certain circumstances.

Conclusion: Well, thanks to my survey, I have learnt the real picture of the situation that is happening at the moment. I’ve found out that people of different ages see this cartoon in different ways and some of respondents just don’t understand the meaning of this masterpiece. I am sure that pupils should know why this animated film is one of the most popular abroad. I will try to correct it with the help of my project!


2.3 Simple but Very Philosophical

Having analyzed the thoughts of people of different ages and getting acquainted with the analysis of critics, I came to the following conclusion: how many people - so many opinions. Someone saw a deep philosophical meaning in Norshtein's work, someone felt an inexplicable melancholy, someone tried to look at their past and future, and someone simply witnessed an amazing journey through the forest ... I should say that any of us, choosing for ourselves this or that meaning of the cartoon, will be right because "Hedgehog in the Fog" at the same time personifies not only the rich fullness of life, but also its emptiness.

A fter watching, you understand that the "Hedgehog" was created not only for children. You can even add - not for children. There is neither a colorful story, nor the diversity of iridescent characters. However, the characters in this film play a huge role. After watching the cartoon, I was interested in the question of why exactly these animals and characters appear on the way of the Hedgehog. That is why I decided to visit local libraries and turn to mythological dictionaries and books in order to find material about mythological meaning of cartoon animals. ( Annex C).

I tried to figure it out and now I want to share what I personally see in this cartoon. For me, this is a cartoon about a dream/goal and, at the same time, about abandoning the stereotypical lifestyle.

Hedgehog in the Fog’ is visually striking, emotionally engaging and stylistically unique. It speaks the universal language of fear, hope and belief.

You’d be amazed how many secret messages are hidden in there, in the form of barely audible whispers and echoes.

To my mind, the main idea of this cartoon is about the meaning of life, about finding yourself in this life. A Metaphorically speaking, the tiny hedgehog who is struggling with feelings of fear, loneliness, curiosity and uncertainty, represents each of us, while the fog itself is our blurry and fuzzy life spiced up by the state of p erpetual bewilderment and confusion. The main character is small, defenseless, disheveled Hedgehog. But why a Hedgehog? According to the ancient legends of Slavic mythology, the hedgehog is a very wise animal, and even when God created our world, he listened to hedgehog`s advice. From the first frames it is impossible not to pay attention to the strange appearance of the Hedgehog. It is absolutely not like real hedgehogs, in which needles grow from the body. I want to point out that we look the same in extreme situations.

I would start my thinking with the fact that every evening the Hedgehog goes to visit his friend, a Bear, to count the stars. Sitting on a bench, they drink tea (and everyone has his own, the hedgehog drinks raspberry tea - the bear cub has juniper one).And mind you, this is a lifestyle that is convenient for the Hedgehog, he is accustomed to it.

Well, in the cartoon the Hedgehog is going to the Bear with a bundle muttering something about juniper jam and sees a ravine filled with fog. . He has decided to go his daily path to his friend through the fog. Through something incomprehensible, terrible, frightening ... but he goes! Well, according to mythological figurativeness, fog symbolizes the border between the human and the other world, the symbol of the unknown zone between reality and unreality, the border between dream and reality. The traditional symbolism of fog is change, transformation, development or supernatural intervention... A journey into the unknown, like the journey through life. To get somewhere, sometimes you have to go off the beaten path. It ends up in the same place but you see a whole new world on the way. Moreover, in the hands of the Hedgehog there is a bundle that he has taken and apparently this is the personification of his attachments to his friend and the world in whichhe used to live, which he loses during the cartoon. [7].

Throughout the journey, the Hedgehog faces different difficulties that are personified by various animals in the fog. But they are not accidental either! As I said earlier, having looked through a number of books about mythology and sites, I can say that they are also present in the film for a reason! Each of them matters!

It should be noted that before going into the fog or the unknown, the main character comes to the edge of the forest and sees a horse in the fog. The horse is a certain religious symbol. Firstly, in West Slavic mythology, a white horse is a child of Belobog. Secondly, a horse, especially a white and luminous one, was perceived as a guide to the next world. The Hedgehog himself thinks about death:

"And if the horse goes to sleep, will it choke in the fog?"

T he Owl chasing the Hedgehog almost the whole road reflects the tension and fears in our heads. I`ve got several ideas about this character. Why an owl? Well, first of all, the Owl follows the shadow of the hedgehog. The nature of the shadow is very complex. A shadow is not an imitation of life, it is a phenomenon of a different kind of existence. Secondly, traditionally a bird in general is a symbol of spirit and soul. Moreover, why is the Hedgehog not afraid of him, but ignores him, even dismissively calls “psycho”? I see criticism and gossip in the image of the Owl, there is no getting away from them, and they will condemn you with any choice, the Hedgehog understands it. But when you get tired of gossip, you can react to them as the Hedgehog does.

T hen, out of nowhere, an oak leaf falls in front of the Hedgehog. Oak is a sacred tree for many nations. The leaf has already fallen and there is no way back. A torn oak leaf means the beginning of the initiation of a hedgehog, death in its former quality.

T he next image is a snail. It has appeared in this context not by chance. The snail shell is a spiral labyrinth. The labyrinth is a symbol of the universal obstacle that manifests itself in all directions, semantically associated with the underworld and the sky.What is especially important to add is that labyrinths are places of initiation in many ancient cults. This is a journey from death to birth, and the main thing is not only to reach the middle - but also to go back.This is what gives the Hedgehog a sign that he needs to move only forward, there is no turning back! [6].

N ext, the hedgehog meets a bat. He is scared of it. The Bat in the Middle Ages is a symbol of the Devil, personifies blindness and is an attribute of the night and is associated with black magic and is a metaphor for witches. Nethertheless, the Hedgehog fights his fear and goes forward!

Having overcome this test, the hedgehog sees an elephant - a symbol of wisdom, strength and power. The meaning of the symbol is clear - it means that the hedgehog is on the right track, this is one of the signs of the right direction.

I n the fog, fireflies are the light and hope for the Hedgehog, because they are so similar to the stars that the main character likes to look at with his friend.

T he Hedgehog "finds" the Tree in the fog. The tree is an ancient symbol. It usually appears in two forms: as the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The hedgehog sees one tree... but the tree is split by a crack from the roots. The personification of the incarnation in the tree is clearly visible - a turn to the alternative of good and evil, to knowledge. The choice has been made.

Suddenly, it turns out that the Hedgehog has lost his bundle. The very bundle that was his connection with the world in which he lived, to which he was accustomed.

H aving lost the bag, the hedgehog begins to worry and panic. A moment later, the Hedgehog is found by a dog. By the way, in ancient times, the dog not only served as an assistant, but also, thanks to the ability to anticipate someone else's death and predict the weather, it turned out to be forever connected with the afterlife - it guarded the gates to the land of the dead and served as a guide to the next world. That`s why the dog is the only one that sees the hedgehog in the fog and brings him his «bundle». The fact that the dog in mythology is associated with the afterlife world and the fact that only the dog found the hedgehog in the fog confused me very much. Is the hedgehog dead? Maybe this fact tells us that the old hedgehog is no longer with us?By the way, this is also proved by the fact that most of the animals and objects that the Hedgehog meets on its way in the fog are somehow connected with the other world.

If you pay attention, the Hedgehog is returned his bundle, but he does not express any emotions towards this and does not even look at it or even he is afraid to look at it. The "new" Hedgehog is another Hedgehog. What's more, thanks to this episode, we can see that it's possible to get help from where you don't expect it.

T he next steps of the "new" Hedgehog are an attempt to move in the old world along a new route. The Hedgehog falls into the river. The river is a symbol of the irreversible flow of time, loss and oblivion. It is a symbol of the direction that determines destiny. One of the creatures not visible to us (fish) carries a Hedgehog on its back, completely resigned to its death, the death of the hedgehog that he used to be. Fish - is considered an intermediary between sky and earth, a symbol of an in-depth inner life hiding under the surface of things.

T he final moments tell us another story too. Watch the expressions of the Bear and the Hedgehog as they talk. The Bear is so relieved to know his friend has arrived safely but also because it means his life of routine and order is restored. He needs the Hedgehog to count the stars and to bring raspberry jam because that's how it has always been. Without the Hedgehog his world would fall apart. He is safe within his comfort zone, happy to live his life without change, without challenge, without fear. He's happy to count the stars but would never once think about reaching for them. But the hedgehog is different. Watch the expression of the Hedgehog, almost of regret, as he listens to the Bear.Listen with what tone of voice and how the Hedgehog responds to the Bear. He has seen the world in a different way, he has seen the magical world inside the mist, another dimension. He has felt the excitement of exploring new worlds, the fear of being lost, new emotions and new friends. And as he sits on the log with the Bear, he thinks about the white horse in the fog. But we know that the Hedgehog's world and the Hedgehog himself will never be the same again!

Now I can say with absolute certainty that this is one of the most brilliant animated movies I've ever seen. It's both simple and very philosophical. At first it all seems to consist of nothing but vague images, but what is our whole life but not wandering in the fog? It shows all the little things and the way you can possibly look at it. The words themselves don't really matter, it is the effect of the sound of the voice that is important. Images and symbolism, music and dreams, all combine to make a great little movie. There's almost no story told, but it's all there - friendship and warmth, lyricism, fears and hopes, wanderings and search for something evasive, something all of us long for and almost never get. The Story is touching, and there's something magical at the images... You see the whole "world" in the movie. This really might change the way you look at the world!

2.4 Changed Perception of the Cartoon

After a detailed analysis of the cartoon "Hedgehog in the Fog" and comparing its perception by people of different ages, I decided to tell the previously interviewed children my thoughts about the cartoon "Hedgehog in the Fog". I shared with them the meaning of this animation, and also sorted out every detail in this animation. Moreover, after my explanations, I decided to show them the cartoon again so that they could see all the details themselves. Then, using the interactive "TeachTouch" panel, the pupils expressed their thoughts about this cartoon on an online board with stickers "Padlet". ( Annex D).


*With the help of this QR code, you can go to the «Padlet» website and see the opinions of the pupils.

I must say that children of different ages reacted differently. I tried to explain to primary school pupils as simply as possible, but it was still very difficult for them. And this once again confirms my idea that this cartoon is not for young children. The kids listened to me with interest and even tried to ask me questions, but they are still too young to understand the essence of this toon.

It was easier for me to explain the essence of the cartoon to pupils of secondary school. Of course, they were very surprised and wanted to watch "Hedgehog in the Fog" again to realize the whole point. Having watched it, their perception completely turned upside down and this animated film revealed itself in a completely different way.

I must remind you that that pupils from high school were very close to the truth, so I just added some details introducing them the mythological meanings of all the characters and attributes of the cartoon and what, taking into account all these details, the meaning of the film opens up to us. During the watching process, the children were even more surprised by the complexity of the cartoon and even found something new. I am sure that this cartoon did not leave anyone indifferent in high school and made absolutely every child think.

Most of all I was surprised by the reaction of adults. At the beginning of my project, they had been skeptical about the cartoon and believed that it was an ordinary cartoon about a hedgehog which was looking for his friend. However, after my full analysis and re-watching this animation, their skepticism went away. They discussed the meaning of this cartoon with interest and we all came to the conclusion that there are cartoons that are not for entertainment, but in order to think about you, about the meaning and difficulties in life.

Namely, the cartoon "Hedgehog in the Fog" is a clear example of such art. And how skillfully this cartoon was created by Yuri Borisovich Norstein! He managed to include in the few-minute cartoon the struggle with past habits of life, the struggle for the desire to live in a new way and the expression of courage and perseverance in the face of difficulties and obstacles that constantly appear in front of us on our life path! Bravo Yuri Borisovich!


The cartoon "Hedgehog in the Fog" is amazing and completed. It's not particularly bright and doesn't make you laugh. But there is a deeper meaning hidden in this animation, which not everyone can understand. After analyzing all the materials, I came to the conclusion that I carried out the goal of my project. I plunged into this masterpiece with my head and conducted a very important analysis.

First of all, I showed this animated film to people of different ages and asked them to tell me about their perception of this cartoon. I was puzzled by some versions of the pupils, and it made me think even more about this cartoon, besides it was very interesting to get the reasoning of adults.

Secondly, I realized that this cartoon not only has a certain idea, but also some details that needed to be thought about. Thanks to my project, I learned to notice details and even delved into ancient mythology. This animated film really made me think and surprised me with something new every time. To be honest, I have never delved too deeply into the cartoon and I am grateful to Yuri Norstein for this masterpiece.

Thirdly, I learned that the world of cartoons is limitless and unique. A cartoon is one of the ways to express your thoughts and soul and convey it to a viewer. I am very glad that there are such animators as Yuri Norstein in our country.

Moreover, having analyzed the cartoon, I decided to reveal to the previously interviewed children my thoughts about the idea of this cartoon. With the help of this, I made them think about the full depth of this animated film. I must say that many of them were very surprised that such cartoons exist in cinematography.

I am absolutely sure that I have thoroughly delved into this cartoon and studied enough necessary materials for its analysis. Now I can say with confidence why the cartoon “Hedgehog in the Fog” was named the best cartoon in the world! It is unbelievable! This is a deep philosophical story about the quest for new and unknown things... This is a grand Anthem to the Bravery and Curiosity. I fell in love with this excellent film. It is incredible...

Thanks to my work, I practiced writing research, and it also gave me practice in English, which is very useful for me.

I think my work will be interesting to people who are interested in animation, Russian culture and learning English. To sum up, I will say that, despite the fact that it was quite difficult, I feel satisfaction and delight from my work, because I learned a lot of useful information and acquired the necessary skills.

In conclusion, I would like to say that the quote "I'm like a hedgehog in a fog" has acquired a completely different meaning for me. People spend their whole lives exploring something new, but not always in a comfortable environment for them. I am sure you should watch this cartoon! Why? You may see the whole "world" in it. This cartoon really might change the way you look at the world!


  1. Elena Grushko, Yuri Medvedev "Dictionary of Slavic Mythology.", N. Novgorod, "The Russian Merchant" and "The Slavs Brothers", 1995

  1. S. A Tokorev, E. М. Meletinskiy «Mythology of the Wold», Moscow : Soviet Encyclopedia, 1987.

  1. S.M.Tolstaya, T.A.Agapkina, O.V.Belova «Slavic Mythology», Moscow: "International Relations", 2002.

4. S.I.Selivanova "Russian Folklore: the Main Genres and Characters", Moscow:

Logos, 2008


6.https://www.livemaster.ru/topic/3213088-blog-ulitka-simvolicheskoe- znachenie

7. https://sigils.ru/signs/tuman.html

8. https://rus.team/people/norshteyn-yuriy-borisovich

Annex A

Annex B

Annex C

Animals and Objects in Mythology

Fog is a symbol of uncertainty and an emblem of power that confuses and hides the truth from the observer.

A tree is an ancient symbol of two forms: as a tree of life and a tree of knowledge of good and evil. [4]

An oak is a world tree symbolizing longevity, strength, might, courage and valor. It was believed that oak is the strongest tree that will not fall with the first lightning. A torn oak leaf means the beginning of the initiation of somebody, death in its former quality. [1]

A river is a symbol of the irreversible flow of time, loss and oblivion. In addition, it is a border zone between the world of the living and the dead. The river is associated with the ideas of fate, death, fear of the unknown, with feelings of cold and darkness.

A hedgehog is an animal which is endowed with wisdom in folk beliefs, as well as medicinal properties.

An owl is a symbol of a chaste, lonely woman who brings darkness. The cry of an owl is considered deadly. Russian people associate it with a widow. It is believed that a owl is an outcast among birds. [3]

A horse is a certain religious symbol. In West Slavic mythology, a white horse is a child of Belobog. Moreover, a horse, especially a white and luminous one, was perceived as a guide to another world. (an angel). An indispensable companion of deities and heroes. An image of space order, a poetic metaphor of the sun.

A Snail symbolizes eternity and fertility. The snail shell is a spiral labyrinth. The labyrinth is a symbol of the universal obstacle that manifests itself in all directions, semantically associated with the underworld and the sky.What is especially important to add is that labyrinths are places of initiation in many ancient cults. This is a journey from death to birth, and the main thing is not only to reach the middle - but also to go back. [1]

A bear is a symbol of protection and reliability. This animal is able to take away trouble from home, for which we are revered and respected. This animal is terrible for offenders of the commandments.[4]

An elephant - a symbol of wisdom, strength and power.

A bat is a symbol of evil spirits, fear and blindness. It is an attribute of the night and is associated with black magic and is a metaphor for witches. A bat is an unclean animal that combines the properties of a bird and a mouse. [3]

Annex D

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