Monday, 2 April 2012

Russian Winnie the Pooh

I have never actually seen or read the US/UK version of Winnie the Pooh (Винни Пух), because, in general, I like neither stuffed animals nor idiots, and Winnie the Pooh seemed to be a nightmarish combination of the two, a primitive version of Jar Jar Binks. However, we watched the Russian version in class, and I may have been totally wrong about the whole thing, because I think this version is fantastic. It is VERY famous in Russia - everyone has seen it and people can quote from it at length (I tested this on several people and it is true).

The interesting thing is that Pooh looks totally different from the way he does in the Disney film - he looks a lot more like a real bear, complete with claws - maybe because here, they have real bears, so they know what they look like. He is still supposed to be a toy though, and is stuffed with sawdust, which would make for one very hard toy. I wouldn't want some child to playfully hit me round the head with what is, essentially, a block of wood. There are a few other differences: Piglet is called Pitachok, because his head looks like an old 5-kopek piece, and Eeyore is called Eea, because this is the sound donkeys make in Russian [a comparison of animal noises in different languages is very interesting, and I keep meaning to try and compile a list. I spent a whole lunchtime comparing animal noises with a Pole, a Japanese girl and an Italian, and they appear to be different in every language, sometimes to the point where you have no idea what kind of animal someone is impersonating].

For this, you don't even need to sign up for the fabulous В Контакте, because it is all on You Tube. There are three episodes, but the third one is by far the best. Here is a version with English subtitles (the Russian is pretty fast at times).

Part 1:
Part 2:

Of course, it's not perfect. They do the stupid thing where they all laugh together at the end, something I have always found intensely irritating (Thundercats was a particularly egregious offender, I seem to recall). Almost as annoying as jolly peasants (another one of my pet hates).

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