A crow... Or maybe a dog... Or maybe a hippo.
A soviet claymation
animated short made in 1981 by Aleksandr Tatarskiy
. It's divided into three unrelated segments: "Picture", "Game" and "Or maybe, or maybe...".
The last segment, that gave the name to the entire short, and the most remembered, is a parody on Aesop's fable The Fox and the Crow
(more specifically Ivan Krylov's version). The narrators try to tell the fable, but keep confusing things. The visuals reflect the resulting story. Available online with subtitles on YouTube
This short provides examples of:
- Audience Participation
- Brick Joke: The grandmother from one of the previous segments breifly shows up to hit the pillow
- Cherubic Choir: Children are there as an audience, so they laugh, interrupt the narrators and even make their own changes to the story.
- Editorial We: Either there is a group of similar-sounding narrators voiced by the same actor, or the single narrator keeps using "we". Maybe he/she speaks on behalf of the group.
- Interactive Narrators: The narrators apologize for forgetting details of the original fable and argue among themselves and with the audience
- Lost Aesop or possibly a Spoof Aesop: original story is an actual Aesop's fable. Of course, since narrators completely forgot what it was about, and are making the whole thing up as they go, the final aesop has absolutely nothing to do with original whatsoever.
- Shout-Out: The wise cat and the mermaid in the tree are characters from Pushkin's stories.
- Rule of Three: There are 3 versions of every misremembered detail: crow-dog-cow, fox-ostrich-janitor. Except that the mermaid and a hippo replace ostrich and cow in 1 scene each. Also the fox entices the crow with 3 prizes.
- Unreliable Narrators: Bordering on Through the Eyes of Madness.
- Visual Pun: Krylov's version of the fable deliberately didn't mention how did the crow get the cheesenote , it only said "God has sent". In the cartoon a narrator doesn't mention God, but 2 cherubs deliver an airmail envelope.
- World of Chaos: A crow keeps becoming a dog, then a cow, then a crow again. The setting keeps alternating between temperate forest, tropical forest and a stadium. A pound of cheese fits in an airmail envelope. And a janitor hatches out of an ostrich egg.