Russian Cartoon – Karlson-on-the-Roof


This is a very cute Russian cartoon that one of my students turned me on to, the cartoon itself dates back to 1968. Before it became a cartoon it was a children’s story book written by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren. The cartoon adaptation was very popular in the USSR when it was released in the late 60’s and early 70’s. There were two Soviet animated films created and directed by Boris Stepantsev, they both became the most celebrated and loved cartoons in Russia along with many other countries of the former USSR. Even today, the adaptations are still celebrated as an integral part of the Russian cartoon industry, with Karlson being recognized as a national icon.

Karlson on the roof - 2

A boy named Malysh

A boy named Malysh (“A Little One”) suffers from solitude being the youngest of the three children in a Russian family. The acute sense of solitude makes him desperately want a dog, but before he gets one, he “invents” a friend – the very Karlson who lives upon the roof.

Karlson on the roof

According to Karlson

Karlson is a very short, very portly and overconfident man who lives in a small house hidden behind a chimney on the roof of a very ordinary apartment building, on a very ordinary street in Stockholm. When Karlson pushes a button on his stomach, it starts a clever little motor with a propeller on his back allowing him to fly. Karlson is the best at everything, at least according to himself. But there is, in fact, one thing at which he excels: being a playmate to Malysh. The mischief that the two get into in the reality is typical of childhood which all ends in Malysh getting a puppy. The cartoon are truly universal – entertaining and funny for the children and thought-provoking and somewhat sad for grownups.




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