The first-ever animated cartoon from the Soviet Union was made by none other than the avant-garde director Dziga Vertov. In this earlier cartoon, Soviet Toys (1924), Vertov toys with the idea of a Soviet Christmas, free from all capitalist oppression.
The film depicts the avaricious bourgeois and a transitional period in the Soviet state; under the New Economic Policy (NEP), a limited form of enterpreneurship was allowed. Here the side effects of this liberallist policy need to be overcome by a strong cooperative proletarian effort.
Soviet Toys (1924) animated cartoon
Production Co.: Goskino
Director: Dziga Vertov
Writer: Dziga Vertov
Dziga Vertov is best known for his dazzling city symphony A Man with a Movie Camera, which was ranked by Sight and Sound magazine as the 8th best movie ever made. Yet what you might not know is that Vertov also made the Soviet Union’s first ever animated movie, Soviet Toys.
Consisting largely of simple line drawings, the film might lack the verve and visual sophistication that marked A Man with a Movie Camera, but Vertov still displays his knack for making striking, pungent images. Yet those who don’t have an intimate knowledge of Soviet policy of the 1920s might find the movie — which is laden with Marxist allegories — really odd.