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Animation / Hedgehog in the Fog

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A 1975 Soviet Russian Stop Motion animated short film from the company Soyuzmultfilm.

In the evenings, Hedgehog travels a path in the dark forest to have tea and count the stars with his friend Bear. One evening, while taking raspberry jam to Bear, Hedgehog catches a glimpse of a beautiful white horse disappearing into the heavy fog. His curiosity piqued, Hedgehog dares to step off the path and pursue the white horse. But many strange and even dangerous creatures hide in the fog. As Hedgehog becomes ever more lost, he worries that he will never see his friend Bear again.

It's hard to impress upon Western viewers how large an impact this short, simple animated film has had upon Russian culture: artwork, postage stamps, stuffed toys, statues, storybooks, and many other celebratory works have been created around it. The film was even listed as one of Russia's greatest accomplishments (alongside Leo Tolstoy and Sputnik) at the 2014 Olympics. Other animators, including Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli, cite it as an inspiration.

Can be watched with English subtitles here.

This work provides examples of:

  • Anger Born of Worry: When Hedgehog finally arrives, Bear scolds him for taking so long, before finally admitting that he was worried.
  • Beary Friendly: Bear is kind, polite, and likes to have tea with Hedgehog.
  • Big Friendly Dog: While looking into the hollow of a giant tree, Hedgehog misplaces the bundle containing the jam. Not long after, a dog appears out of the fog and returns it.
  • Cat Scare: Hedgehog is scared of the strange shapes hidden in the thick fog, but they turn out to be harmless things, such as a large tree or a helpful dog.
  • Character Name and the Noun Phrase: The film's title.
  • Civilized Animal: Hedgehog and Bear meet every evening for tea. What could be more civilized?
  • A Dog Named "Dog": Or a hedgehog named Hedgehog.
  • Don't Go Into the Woods: Hedgehog knows he shouldn't stray from the path, but he just can't resist...
  • Enchanted Forest: The forest is both spooky and beautiful, and all too easy to get lost in. Whether the forest is truly magical or Hedgehog has let his imagination run away is left ambiguous, particularly since the white horse seems almost fairy-like. (And then there's the elephant...)
  • Face Death with Dignity: Hedgehog has suffered so many frights that by the time he falls into a river, he's resigned to letting himself drown. Fortunately, it doesn't come to that.
  • Four Legs Good, Two Legs Better: Hedgehog and Bear stand on two legs like humans, while all the other animals walk normally.
  • Funny Animal: Hedgehog and Bear walk on two legs. Every other animal in the short averts this trope.
  • Interspecies Friendship: Hedgehog and Bear.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Applies to much of the short. In particular, the identity of the voice in the river is a mystery. Is it a magical river creature? The voice of the river itself? Or simply a kind fish?
  • Not Drawn to Scale: Unlike other animals shown, Bear is positively tiny, twice the size of Hedgehog at most.
  • Ominous Fog: Right there in the title.
  • Ominous Owl: An owl follows Hedgehog around—although it never harms anyone and comes about as more of a Cloudcuckoolander.
    Hedgehog: Weirdo.
  • Say My Name: Hedgehog keeps hearing, at a distance, a voice shouting his name. Later, at Bear's house, Bear tells Hedgehog that he had been calling and calling for him.
  • Stargazing Scene:
    • Hedgehog and Bear like to count the stars while they have tea.
    • Hedgehog stops to admire a star in the sky, and then to marvel at the star's reflection in a puddle.
  • Stay on the Path: Hedgehog is sidetracked from going to his friend's house by the sight of a beautiful white horse and, in trying to approach it, strays off the path and gets lost in the fog.
  • Unknown Character: Someone unseen helps Hedgehog out of the river.
  • White Stallion: A mysterious, beautiful white horse lures Hedgehog from his path. At the end of the film, Hedgehog finds himself still wondering what became of it.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: Hedgehog spends a few moments in awe looking at a giant tree previously hidden by the fog, with the twilight sun shining through its branches.