Thursday, 14 May 2009

A Fish story, or about Russian cartoons

A friend made me cry today.

It is pretty pathetic, really and I should not confess to it, because things that make me cry these days (whatever caused such a change in personality: old age? hormones?) are pretty innocent and not at all depressing. By standards of normal people that is.

She sent me a Russian cartoon. Bloody Russians.

It is self-explanatory, so I will attach the link here for those interested.

I watched it. And it made me cry. A little.

It is a story of a girl who saw a scary old man catch a little fish and she tried to save it, but he took it away. Presumably, to make a nice hot uha (Russki fish soup).

I am not a vegetarian. Not only I enjoy eating fish, I also discovered a few years ago the joys of a boat fishing. That’s when I realized that I had a monstrous killer instinct deep inside me. And, on a glorious sunny day in the stunning Caribbean sea, the monster got released.
I hunted like a cavewoman, I pulled those poor little (By the way, mine were not that little- not that it was a competitive fishing, or anything…) creatures out, and then as we pulled to the beach, watched Francisco the boat owner cleaning and gutting them, making Ceviche….hmm… one of the best days out I ever had. So, apologies to my veggie friends but-no regrets, whatsoever!

I also discovered that my killer instinct is genetic when I took my mother on a (slightly less glamorous location) boat fishing trip up in North Wales. I had never anticipated how a respectable demure Azeri lady could turn into a barbaric hunter in a matter of seconds. Every time her fishing rod jerked and something got hooked on it, she shouted “Oop-paaaaa!!!!!” so loudly, I kept looking around expecting someone to appear with a straitjacket. Her pupils were dilated, hair all messed up and her hands red from the freezing mid-May Welsh wind: but she did not notice.

But today, watching this cartoon made me cry. And not just because the poor little fish got eaten by a scary old man. I just thought it was so beautiful. The falling snow…and the piano…There is just something about Russian cartoons. There is just something about Russians, really. The drama, the tragedy, the sadness, the soul… The country that produced Marina Tsvetaeva. What else is there to add?

Just make sure you don’t let your children watch this one.


  1. I thing it doesn't really matter who was it - little fish or little puppy. The idea is that LITTLE GIRL saw it and how did she feel about it. That is why we both cryed. :)

  2. Maybe we are just mad and everyone else is not- let's just face the reality and live with it. :)

  3. Every time I pull up one of my favorite childhood cartoons on YouTube for our daughter my husband points out how kind and gentle they are compared to Tom & Jerry beating the snout out of each other (although we did have "Nu Pogodi" & thought it was funny). The question he keeps asking (and I don't have an answer for) is if our cartoons were so gentle & kind, how come people who grew up watching them are so... not gentle and kind to each other? Was our reality to harsh?

  4. I showed this to my family when I first read about it on your blog. It really was quite beautiful, although I don't know whether the music score is right for it. The pianos seem too light.

    One thing that does puzzle me is why the fish's return to life works so well. Ordinarily the resurrection of dead characters (as in, for example, E.T.) seems merely to cheapen their deaths. Maybe the ambiguity about whether the fish was *really* alive and happy at the end, or whether the little girl simply managed to resolve the tragedy in her mind, makes it easier for me to swallow.

    Whatever the reason, I can understand why someone would cry seeing this, even if she wasn't pregnant at the time.

  5. @Mark: I was not pregnant when I wrote this. That would make me pregnant over a year.:)
    I think the fish was not really alive? I dont know, but it was a beautiful cartoon, really. Glad you liked it too. Inter-cultural experience, eh.:)