Laughing Pot

The Laughing Pot / Горщик-cміхотун

Published: April 23, 2017

The Laughing Pot (Горщик-cміхотун in Ukrainian, Горшок смехотун in Russian—though the Ukrainian cміхотун has also been translated into Russian in the name of the film as хохотун and насмешник) is a 1990 Ukrainian-made short animated film. It’s about eight minutes long. The film is wordless.

The film tells the story of a very strange-looking clay pot made by a pottery master. Most of the potter’s pots come out unusually beautiful, but this one just happened to be a dud. He was about to throw it out when the pot suddenly burst out laughing. The potter takes the pot to the market that week to try to sell it, and the pot’s laughter is so contagious that it solves all sorts of everyday problems and disturbances. The moral of the story seems to be that beauty isn’t everything.

The film was made by Boris Khranevich (Борис Храневич), a Ukrainian animated film director who worked for Kyivnaukfilm (Київнаукфільм), Ukraine’s state animation agency, for most of his career. He also worked on several episodes in the Cossacks series and the animated films Kotygoroshko (Котигорошко), based on a Slavic fairy tale, and Kapitoshka (Капітошка), among many others. Kapitoshka is about a drop of rain who has a badly timed meeting with a wolf; luckily, almost a decade later Kapitoshka, Return! (Повертайся, Капітошко!) appeared, to make up for the sad ending of the first film. In 1973 Khranevich’s short animated film The Elephant Had a Dream (Була у слона мрія) won first place at a film festival in Ukraine.


The full film (though with the Russian title here):


About the author

Julie Hersh

Julie studied 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.

Program attended: Home and Abroad Scholar

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