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Animation / Gagarin

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Gagarin is a 1995 animated short film (3 1/2 minutes) from Russia, directed by Alexey Chartidi.

Four caterpillars are peacefully munching on leaves in a meadow somewhere. Well, actually, three of them are munching peacefully. The fourth little caterpillar keeps looking up at objects in the sky, first a dragonfly, then a helicopter. The curious caterpillar attempts to fly with them, leaping up off of his leaf, to no avail.

A noise causes the four caterpillars to flee for cover behind a piece of wood. When an object lands near them, the curious caterpillar goes out to investigate. He finds—a badminton shuttlecock.


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Tropes:

  • Acrophobic Bird: The caterpillar-turned-butterfly's harrowing experience with the shuttlecock leaves it this at the end, afraid to join its fellow butterflies in flight.
  • Call of the Wild Blue Yonder: The caterpillar dreams of flight and tries to jump up and join the things it sees flying.
  • Growing Wings: The caterpillars sprout wings instantly at the end.
  • The Joy of First Flight: Well, the other caterpillars are pretty happy about it when they become butterflies.
  • Line Boil: And lots of it in what was obviously a hand-drawn cartoon.
  • P.O.V. Cam: From the caterpillar as it is getting whacked back and forth in the shuttlecock.
  • Shout-Out: The title is of course a shout-out to Yuri Gagarin, Russian cosmonaut, the first man in space. Although one might wonder what Gagarin would think about a cartoon that ends with the protagonist too scared to fly.
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  • White Void Room: The scenes with the caterpillars amongst the plants are drawn against a white background. This contrasts with the richly detailed background seen when the curious caterpillar is whacked into the air along with the shuttlecock.
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