Animated Films for Adults in the USSR: A Look at “Spy Passions”
Animated films for adults produced in the USSR didn’t necessarily imply erotic content; instead, they were intended for mature audiences. Figures like Yuriy Norstein, Aleksandr Tatarskiy, and Eduard Nazarov have left an indelible mark in the hearts of many. I even dedicated a separate publication to them.
One particular aspect of this genre that has always drawn my interest is animated films that satirize clichés of certain genres or professions. I believe I could endlessly rewatch masterpieces like “Film! Film! Film!” or “A Robbery Attempt.”
Hence, my curiosity was piqued when I learned that Efim Gamberg, who directed “A Robbery Attempt,” released “Spy Passions” in 1967, a film parodying the clichés of detective and spy movies.
I watched it and… remained perplexed. While there might have been some successful moments, gags, or ideas, they were all buried beneath a thick layer of propaganda. It’s pointless to speculate why this happened. Of course, the times dictated it. Perhaps the director had the intention but wasn’t granted permission. Maybe he decided to take a step back in order to take several steps forward later. But the fact remains – after watching it, I only smiled at a couple of creative twists in a 20-minute runtime. Sometimes, it happens.
Thank you for reading. Have you seen this animated film? P.S. It’s possible that one needs to watch many Soviet detective films produced before 1967 to fully appreciate this animation. I’ve seen works by Protazanov and Eisenstein from that era, comedies, and war films, but I’m not very familiar with detective movies.