We thank those AWN readers who contributed their thoughts on the passing of legendary Russian animator Fyodor Khitruk.
You can read the details of his passing within AWN’s Headline News:
Russian Animator Fyodor Khitruk Dies
You might also enjoy journeying back into AWN’s archive for this great article by the late William Moritz:
The Spirit Of Genius: Feodor Khitruk
"Fyodor Khitruk was a mystery wrapped up in an enigma, to borrow Winston Churchill’s definition of the Kremlin. But before any other thing he was a great, great, great animation film-maker.
As a young man, he was possibly the best of the Soyuzmultfilm animators; ‘I played over two hundred roles in a hundred and three films’, he commented, emphasizing the acting nature of the profession. He turned director with Story of a Crime (1961), a stylistically and thematically revolutionary film for a USSR which was just experiencing the first tepidness of the Thaw. The Man in the Frame (1966) was a dry, merciless satire against bureaucrats, opportunists, timeservers, power climbers. The author didn’t attack a general human behaviour, or an enemy, but overtly the Soviet system. Icarus and the Wisemen (1977) was daring and cleverly indignant, a violent slap in the face of conformists (Icarus attempts to fly despite the derision of the establishment and intellectuals who will later bury him with a eulogy). Each one of these films, and most of his other ones, are unforgettable quality jewels.
For much less anti-establishment utterances, many film-makers, writers, intellectuals in general, paid dearly. Khitruk was promoted. His role as the actual and spiritual guide of the Soviet animators was undisputed. He acted well: he protected talented daredevils (Norstein first), promoted autonomous animation production in the Federated Republics, diligently participated to the most boring and ineffectual meetings of the ASIFA Board.
Did I love him? No. We had more clashes than hugs. A Communist Russian, a Liberal Italian. Like oil and water. Opposite visions of the world. But as far as admiring is concerned, yes, I admired him a lot. Inside that slow, heavy, rarely smiling old man, a great artist and a fierce fighter for freedom inhabited."
"Fyodor Khitruk helped modernize Russian animation. His sense of rhythm, his humor, his ability to tell stories concisely made him an example. But more importantly, his graphic virtuosity made history. Othello 67, the very short film (50 seconds) he made for the international competition organized for the Montreal World Exhibition is a masterpiece of irony and pacing."
Artistic Director, Annecy International Animation Film Festival
"This is a great loss to Russian animation. Khitruk was the teacher of many famous Russian directors - Norshtein, Nazarov, Petrov, Maksimov, Aldashin and many others. He was my teacher also. Khitruk was not only a good director and a teacher but also a unique person, a great conversationalist. He always had positive energy."
"Fyodor Khitruk has been recognized internationally for his long and distiguished career in animation. He was a pioneer and cornerstone in the world of Russian animation, creating work that was beloved by the public and providing opportunities for new generations of artists to emerge."