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Animation / The Cow

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The Cow (корова) is a 1989 animated short film (ten minutes) from the Soviet Union, directed by Alexsandr Petrov.

Somewhere on the vast Russian steppe there lives a farm family, consisting of a father and a mother and their little boy. The boy is particularly fond of the family cow, which provides them with milk and also pulls a plow in their field. When the cow gives birth to a calf the boy takes a special liking to the calf as well. However, these relationships are disturbed when the family has to sell the calf.

First of several Oscar-nominated films for Petrov, who uses a distinct paint-on-glass style of animation.

It can be watched here.



  • Chiaroscuro: Some lovely scenes with the boy carrying a single lantern out into the pitch black darkness to visit the cow.
  • Down on the Farm: A small family farm somewhere in the vast Russian interior.
  • Dream Sequence: The fate of the cow revealed in a surreal dream sequence of the boy's, featuring the cow nursing a human baby, the boy riding atop a giant cow, and a careening plow on the train tracks as the train whistle blows.
  • Driven to Suicide: The cow never recovers after its calf is sold. It stands around in the field moping rather than pulling a plow. Eventually it bolts from the field, running onto the train tracks, where it is struck by a train and killed.
  • Foreshadowing: The sound of the train whistle heard from time to time.

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