Yuri Borisovich Norshtein

Yuri Borisovich Norshtein

Film director, People’s Artist of Russia
USSR State Prize Laureate

“As a child, when I was seriously ill, I had the same dream. As if in the darkness there is a stack of thinnest paper, like a parallelepiped, about a meter high. And I must quickly and accurately, sheet by sheet, put the entire stack to another place. I try to do it as quickly as possible, but the stack does not shrink by a single sheet, and next to it the new one hardly thickens.
Later, when I was already working in animation and dealing with tracing paper on which the layouts of movements were drawn, I remembered my childhood nightmare.
I was born in 1941 on September 15, in the village of Andreevka, in Penza region – one of the places for the evacuees at the very beginning of the war.
In 1943, with my mother and older brother, we returned to Moscow. My mom, Basia Girshevna Krichevskaya, worked all her life in preschool institutions: in a nursery, in a kindergarten, at the station in the “Room of mother and child”.

My father –Berko Leibovich Norshtein was an adjuster of woodworking machines. He died when I was 14 years old. I didn’t have time to really get to know him. According to the stories he was an interesting person. Having received no education, he knew higher math, had perfect pitch and an outstanding musical memory. He could whistle by heart Wagner and Schubert. I think that my older brother Garik, who studied music and later became a violin restorer, inherited the skills of a craftsman from his father.
Mom did not have any outstanding abilities, except that she cooked well and protected her children from the horrors of life – I was constantly reminded on the street of my Jewish origin.
I graduated from secondary school, combining the last two years with classes at an art school, in which, as it turned out later, my future wife Francesca Yarbusova studied.
I worked at a furniture factory.

In 1959 I entered a two-year course for animation artists at the “Soyuzmultfilm” Studio, where I began working in 1961.
Even though, I met many wonderful directors at the studio: Tsekhanovsky, Khitruk, Atamanov, Kachanov, Ivanov-Vano, Dezhkin, Polkovnikov and many others, the wish to leave the studio was equal to my dislike of animation, because I dreamed to paint.

My attempts to enter art institutions ended in complete failure. As if fate itself was showing my place in life. Six volumes of Eisenstein did their destructive work – I “got sick” with directing. At the film studio, I met my future wife and production designer Francesca Yarbusova (Francesca Yarbusova is the production designer for the films: “The Fox and the Hare”, “The Heron and the Crane”, “Hedgehog in the Fog”, “Tale of Tales”, “The Overcoat”. Production designer of the films “White Skin”, “Locomotive from Romashkovo”, “Plasticine Hedgehog”, “A Boy and a Ball”, etc.), the result of which was the birth of two children Boris and Katya and the appearance of films: “The Fox and the Hare”, “The Heron and the Crane”, “Hedgehog in the Fog”, “Tale of Tales” and the unfinished “The Overcoat”.

My teachers are: Altamira and Lasko caves, “Spas” by Andrei Rublev, the Michelangelo’s last sculpture “Pieta Rondanini”, “Meninas” by Velasquez, the last period of Goya, “Return of the Prodigal Son” by Rembrandt, Van Gogh, “Mussorgsky” by Repin, Pavel Fedotov , Chardin, Millet, Russian and European avant-garde, Jean Vigo’s film “Atalanta”, Eisenstein’s six-volume edition.
But the most outstanding teachers are my grandchildren and children in general. Looking at their smiles filled with innocence, at their delicate narrow shoulders shaped by their shirts, you understand that all world art makes sense, if love opens in our souls.”

• 1968 “The 25th, the First day” (in collaboration with Arkadiy Tyurin)
• 1969 “The Seasons” (in collaboration with Ivan Ivanov–Vano)
• 1971 “The Battle of Kerzhenets” (in collaboration with Ivan Ivanov–Vano)
• 1973 “The Fox and the Hare”
• 1974 ” The Heron and the Crane”
• 1975 “Hedgehog in the Fog”
• 1979 “Tale of Tales”
• 1999-2001 “Good night, kids!” (opening and closing miniatures)
• 2003 “Winter Days”
• 1981-present “The Overcoat”
Author of books: “Tale of Tales”, “Hedgehog in the Fog”, “Fox and Hare”, “Snow on the Grass”.