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Thursday, December 15, 2005


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15 September 1941


Animator, Director

Bio Summary

In 1943 his family was evacuated to Moscow during WWII. He was raised in the suburbs of Andreyevsky and communal apartments of Maryina Rorschach Moscow [which was influenced by his film, Skazka skazok (Tale of Tales)] He went to an art school and worked at a furniture factory. Later, He was employed at Soyuzmultfilm studio in 1961, and stayed for 2 years. He was dissatisfied and had no interest with the studio’s cartoon productions. However, while attending this 2-year course at the studio he stumbled upon Sergei Eisenstein, a writer and film director. Watching Eisenstein’s works inspired Norstein to want to do the same, "never make a concession if it goes against your conscience," was his motto. During Norstein’s time at the studio he encountered his future wife, Francesca Yarbusova. Yarbusova and Norstein's other regular collaborator, cameraman Alexander Zhokovsky, the three invented a machine that allowed them to animate on layers of glass. They tested this device out with the film The Heron and the Crane. The film was banned by the censors, but was released soon after petitions by animator, Fedor Khitruk.

Early Life/Family

Family evacuated to Moscow during WWII in 1943
Wife; Francesca Yarbusova


Career Outline

Employment in a furniture factory
Soyuzmultfilm studios [1961-1962]

Comments On Style

Norstein neglects using a computer in his work. He developed a unique technique instead; he uses a multiple glass plane. Thus, giving his work a 3-D appearance.


Sergei Eisenstein
Early 20th century avant-garde paintings [1910-1920]



Ghibli Museum exhibition of 3 of his works; The Fox and the Hare, The Heron and the Crane, and Hedgehog in the Fog.


-He was invited to Eisenstein Cine-Club Japan in October 1995. He stayed in Japan for 15 days to give lectures to Japanese animators about animation and world art in 東京「Tokyo」, 京都「Kyoto」, and 古部「Kobe」.

-Exhibition at Comic Box Gallery held in 浅賀や、東京「Asagaya, Tokyo」. [November 18-20, 1995]

-Late 2003, early 2004, Ghibli Museum had an exhibition of 3 of his famous works that appealed to Japan; The Fox and the Hare, The Heron and the Crane, and Hedgehog in the Fog. A book was made in honor of Norstein in Japanese. This book featured interviews, pictures of him with family and friends [功高幡Takahata Isao], and scenes from his films.


1962 Who Said “Meow”
1967 25th, the first Day [with Arkadii Tyurin]
1971 The Battle of Kerzhenets [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
2003 Winter Days「冬の日」

• Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 1971
• Zagrab World Festival of Animated Films 1972
• Tbilissi 1972
• Bombay Film Festival 1972
• Annecy International Film Festival 1975
• 1975 New York(USA) 1975
• Frunze All-Union Film Festival 1976
• Teheran Children’s and Youth Film Festival 1976
• Odense[Denmark] 1977
• USSR State Prize 1979
• Lille[France] International Festival of Films 1980
• Zagreb World Festival of Animated Films 1980
• Ottawa[Canada] International Animation Film Festival 1980
• Los Angeles Olympic Arts Festival 1984
• Annie Award 1991
• Russian Independent Triumph Award 1995
• People’s Artist of Russian 1996
• Zagreb World Festival of Animated Films 2002
• Laputa Animation Festival[Tokyo] 2003
• Japanese Order of the Rising Sun 2004


Annie Award: Winsor McCay Award 1991

Related Links

A-HAA: Exhibit: Grim Natwick- Golden Age Animator

Bibliographic References

Kiston, Clare. Yuri Norstein And Tale of Tales. Indiana University.
Takahata, Isao. 話の話し[hanashi no hanashi]. AM JuJu Tokuma Shoten, 1984 .


Contributors To This Listing

Doug Cummings
Toru Inoue

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