Mitten

The Mitten (Рукавичка) is a 1996 short animated film. It was produced in Ukraine but is almost wordless—though there is nice music!. It’s about eight minutes long. (It should not be confused with the 1967 Soviet puppet film Варежка, which also has the English title The Mitten. That one is about a girl who wants a puppy so badly that she magically turns her mitten into a puppy.)

The film is based on a Slavic (either Russian or Ukrainian, depending on who you ask) folk tale. It tells the story of a mitten that has been lost in the woods. It’s winter, and a whole host of animals slowly take up residence in the mitten to keep warm. The size of the animals who move in increases over the course of the film—first it’s a mouse, then a variety of other small animals, and they all enjoy each other’s company. Sometime later a fox arrives, which dampens the proceedings briefly, and so on and so forth. At the same time, the mitten’s owner wanders the woods looking for the lost mitten.

The film was created by Natalya Marchenkova (Наталья Марченкова), who had a 15-year career in animation and short films. She wrote the script for The Mitten as well as directing it. Her resume isn’t very long other than this, but another highlight is her short film How the Hedgehog and the Bear Changed the Sky (Как ёжик и медвежонок небо меняли), 1985. Like Yuriy Norshtein’s Hedgehog in the Fog (Юрий Норштейн, Ёжик в тумане), this one is based on the short story by Sergey Kozlov (Сергей Козлов), who wrote the scripts for both Marchenkova’s and Norshtein’s cartoons, as well as several other Hedgehog cartoons.

 

The film:

Julie is currently studying Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk (and before that, Bishkek) with SRAS’s Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.