Kontakt [Contact] (1978)

It’s simple enough:

An artist goes out to enjoy a day in the country.  Unfortunately, while he’s soaking his feet in a beautiful pond, an alien arrives in his spaceship.

Not long ago, I noted my indifference towards Russian animation.  Yes, I know it has a fan base, there’s clearly a bit of talent at work in the best of it, but most of what I’ve seen hasn’t been particularly interesting or impressive.

However, this short film is remarkably well done.  It has a wild, psychedelic quality about it, with lush, brightly-colored landscapes (which have a sort of  Art Nouveau quality, as a lot of psychedelic art did) and an alien that is a shape-shifting, multicolored blob.  It reminds me a lot of The Beatles Yellow Submarine — and not just because the artist looks a lot like John Lennon.

The attempts to communicate by shapeshifting and mime make for some clever animation, and we all know why music becomes the way they finally connect.

After all, we saw that film, which came out the year before.  Although I have to wonder whether it actually got shown in the USSR by 1978.

But then, Soviet filmmakers often did get to see films that no one else behind the Iron Curtain got to see, on their trips to international film festivals.  Which may also be why the tune that bridges the gap is the theme from The Godfather.

After all, it definitely does not seem like a film they  would have shown in the Soviet Union.

There isn’t a lot to this simple film, just an excuse for a plot, an interesting theme and some wild transformations.  Yet Contact is beautiful, it features lively animation, it’s short — and best of all, it’s free on Youtube.

It’s hard to beat that.

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And check out our new Feature (Updated May 16, 2019):

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