Hedgehog in the Fog (Ёжик в тумане) is the classic 1975 Russian-Soviet animation directed by Yuri Norstein, who was nicknamed The Golden Snail “for his slow, ardent perfectionism.” The animation is based on the story Hedgehog in the Fog by Russian children’s writer Sergey Kozlov, who also wrote the script.
A small hedgehog walks through the night to visit his friend, a bear cub, to drink tea near the fire while counting stars. He carries some raspberry jam for the occasion and delights in the ritual of their get together. Finding his way among the dense forest, hedgehog sees an unfamiliar fog descend. Within it, a beautiful white horse stands undisturbed. Distracted from the journey, he curiously explores the fog and gets completely turned around.
A falling leaf startles him, bats scare him as they whisk by, and a menacing owl continues to stalk him. But he also discovers a formidable tree that extends above the mist and spots the stars as he floats without hope along a river. Some luck and the kindness of mysterious strangers help him find his way to comfort of tea and stargazing again. Yet he is changed by the experiences of risk, fear, discovery, and wonder.
In a 2010 obituary for Kozlov, Ekaterina Godunova writes:
As so often with great children’s literature, Kozlov’s tales are as much about adult life with its routines, obscure emotions and faint dreads. His animal characters are intelligent, edged around by melancholy, and imbued with passivity through names like “Little Hedgehog,” “Little Bear,” etc. Nonetheless, the characters’ apparent delicacy testifies to their great strength, and the profound understanding of both the human and animal realms that they lend us.
Watch the film without subtitles:
Then watch these: Winnie-the-Pooh (Винни-Пух) by Russian animator Fyodor Khitruk, Sesame Street’s Lost Boy Remembers His Way Home, and all things Evelyn Lambart on this site.
Find the children’s book on Amazon.
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