For Kukuschka, motherhood is a hindrance. In a stop-motion film bearing her name, the avian character dreams of reaching the sun. She travels the beige dunes each day and braves the wind gusts that blow her gauzy clothing. When her similarly dressed baby breaks out of its shell, she tries to continue on her journey to follow the glowing orb, before slowing to a lope to find care for her child.
Created by Russian animator and director Dina Velikovskaya, the stop-motion film is an effort to complicate traditional notions of parenthood. Velikovskaya told Short of the Week that “Kukushcka” represents “women who ha(ve) dreams and how motherhood can be an obstacle to them.” Throughout the emotional production, the mother-baby duo struggle to coexist in their sand-filled world.
Since it was released in 2016, “Kukuschka” has garnered worldwide attention, winning Best Animated Comedy from the EACG Animation Festival in San Francisco and Best Director at the New Horizon Film Festival and National Animation Premium “IKARUS.” For more Kukuschka and the other avian puppets, check out the animator’s Instagram, where the characters periodically visit coffee shops and parks.
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