Trees, grass, unfarmed land all look peaceful in the daylight. Come night, walking through an orchard or a farm with nothing but moonlight to guide the way makes us fearful.
Every rustling leaf, every creaking branch and twig can make us jump. The insect that flutters its wings as it weaves its way through the mesh of trees. The bravest among us tries to get through the way as quickly as we can towards something familiar.
This is what the little hedgehog in the animated Russian short film, The Hedgehog in the Fog does too. He is a timid dweller of the woods. His nightly routine includes sitting with his friend the bear and counting the stars.
In the evening Hedgehog would go over to bear's houseTo count the stars.Perched on a log they would sip tea And gaze into the starry sky.It hung over the roof, right behind the chimney. The stars to the right of the chimney belonged to bear. The stars to the left were Hedgehogs.
He sets out one foggy night to bears place with raspberry jam. Owl follows him. Hedgehog speaks aloud of the conversation he expects to have with bear.
Hedgehog steps into the fog and muses what would happen if the horse nibbling on the grass goes to sleep in the fog.
Hedgehog steps into the fog and nothing is visible, a dry leaf floats down startling him. He watches a snail crawl from under it. He lifts the leaf to see if anything else is under it, but finds nothing. In the distance he sees the form of an elephant.
The viewer along with the hedgehog advances cautiously wondering what will be encountered next. The fog clouds here, clears up there, an ever moving player that reveals and then doesn't. Hedgehog loses the raspberry jam only to have it rescued and returned by a rather friendly cocker spaniel.
Hedgehog falls into the river, his nerves shaken by all the sudden sounds and sights that the fog has shown him like a ringmaster. He resigns himself to his fate but is taken to the river bank by an unknown dweller of the waters.
Hedgehog meets bear who after much waiting has got the samovar going. Bear talks oblivious to the adventure little hedgehog has had. Hedgehog is happy to be in the comfort of his friend's home, ready to count the stars.
Hedgehog in the Fog (1975) has a five on five rating on Google. Filmed by Yuri Norstein and written by Sergei Kozlov, this ten minute Russian short is a classic.
Norstein has used the multiple glass technique to achieve a three diemensional look to the characters. We sense a dull thud when the dried falling leaf falls on the wet woodland floor. The movies stop motion technique was done completely by hand with each minute equivalent to many months of work. The fog effect was created by using a thin sheet of paper. The paper when moved closer to the camera made the object under it less visible thus giving the effect of fog covering the creatures.
The Hedgehog in the Fog takes us back to our primal fear of Nature and it's unknowns. Children often navigate the unknown similarly, while we like bear are often oblivious to the intricate adventures they may have had navigating their way home. All things beautiful trancend the barriers of age. Enjoy watching Hedgehog in the Fog.