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Animation / Ostrov

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Ostrov ("Island") is a 1973 animated short film (ten minutes) from the Soviet Union, directed by Fyodor Khitruk.

A man sits on a lonely desert island—an absurdly tiny island, so small that there's barely room for him to sit. (Let's not think about the lack of fresh water.) At first, the ships that pass by simply fail to notice his frantic waves. Eventually, however, they do notice him, and he receives a parade of visitors: anthropologists, tourists, colonizers, missionaries, and more. All of them notice him, but none of them bother to help him.



  • Allegory: The cartoon is an obvious allegory for alienation from society. Speedboats whiz by, a "supermarket" boat stops and tries to sell the man stuff, tourists visit and pose for pictures, an oil company wrecks the island, but no one will help the man.
  • The Aloner: He's the aloner at the start of the cartoon at least. And given how everyone ignores him, he basically stays that way.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: The complete indifference of everyone to the man and his welfare. A priest in a floating cathedral shows up, prays over the man, and leaves. Anthropologists come, study the man, and leave. Tourists visit, and a buxom bikini-clad woman sits on the man's lap for a picture...and they leave.
  • Evil Colonialist: In one scene a gigantic warship bristling with guns pulls up to the little island. A party lands on shore, they sing the national anthem and plant their flag, and leave, leaving the man alone again.
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  • Eye on a Stalk: The submarine periscopes that pop up and assess the man appear as eye stalks with a pair of blinking eyes. When oil is discovered on the man's island and submarines start swarming all over the place, one runs into another and gives the second a black eye in its eye stalk.
  • Green Aesop: One of the themes is the environmental destruction of the island. The man, who is usually bleakly passive, breaks down sobbing after some guys show up and cut down his only tree. Later, some people drill an oil well on the island, totally destroying it. The man is left sitting forlorn on the handle of the shut-down oil well.
  • Ironic Juxtaposition: One scene shows a freighter passing in front of the man, carrying new cars from left to right, while at the same time another identical freighter passes behind the man, carrying junked, crushed cars from right to left.
  • Limited Animation: The scene is drawn very simply, with a sketch of a shaggy, ball-shaped man (basically, head, beard, and feet), a tiny island with its one tree, and a line denoting the horizon. Sometimes averted with the ships which pass the man, which are more intricately drawn.
  • Off-into-the-Distance Ending: After the man's island is destroyed and he's left sitting on the cap of the oil well, a second, near-identical man comes by, using a stick as a flotation device. The second man gestures to the man on the island, who joins him and grabs the stick. They paddle away to the horizon together as the cartoon ends.

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