masha and the bear

masha and the bear.jpg

This was the first subject I dealt with for HTV’s news programme hosted by Irada Zeynalova just before Christmas. The interview was fairly full with questions about the impact of Russian animation in a global market. The particular controversy, however, was a result of an article in the TIMES, prompted by a number of academics-  Professor Anthony Glees, of the University of Buckingham, an intelligence expert, had said: “Masha is feisty, even rather nasty, but also plucky. She punches above her slight weight.” He was, in turn, quoting a slightly obscure paper by an academic in Tallinn University’s Communication School  claiming that the bear symbolised Russia and was designed, according to the Daily Mail, to “place a positive image of the country in children’s minds.” A Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, reported this in November 2018 but Professor Priit Hobemagi had actually written his paper nearly a year earlier. I do not quite understand why it took so long to come into print at all.

Speculation elsewhere that this story is really about anxiety in the Ukraine was missing from the report on HTV and reports in the Daily Mail and the Times.

The programme is deliciously designed and the soviet details are precise – that is partly where the humour lies- the cap that Masha wears here has a blue band= the colour of the border guards.

I gave a detailed breakdown of the development of Russian animation and made reference to some current projects including the amazing Hoffmanidea and further work by Yuri Norstein who animated the Hedgehog in the fog. tWhat I said was dubbed into Russian though I could not be sure that what I was saying was actually what was being spoken and the studio would not let me have access to the original tapes. Nevertheless, the dubbing seemed to be in line with the general points I raised in the interview.

tim interviewed about MASHA and the BEAR.jpg

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HTV in Russia- standards of reporting

This is the second interview as it appeared on HTV (NTV)

There is a problem here – specifically that the words I am supposedly saying, dubbed by a Russian actor, are not in the original interview.  The previous interview that I did before Christmas about a children’s tv series called “Masha and the bear” was equally questionable- but when I asked to see the original footage, I was told this was not possible, and I was assured that the words dubbed were an accurate representation of what I said. In the case of this interview about Brexit, however, the entire interview was also filmed (though not by me) on a mobile phone so it is possible to compare what I actually said with what the tv station felt was convenient for them to broadcast.

There were by their own admission other complaints about the dubbing. I was invited to meet Ms Zeynalova and members of the senior management of the station last week. In the event, I went up to the studio, went through a barrage of (last-minute and quite excessive) security to have tea in a staff canteen with an editor, a charming lad called Andrey who promised to arrange a further interview to correct the station’s errors. So far, nothing has happened. There has been no written apology, and no explanation on air and of course the proffered meeting with senior execs has still not taken place. I wonder whether this sort of thing (what might be called “deceptive dubbing”) is therefore accepted as standard practice. It beggars belief.

I will add to this and post further images and details over the next few days.

irada-and-dupulicity-story.jpg

This is a translation of what NTV claims I said, “She even put her neck on the line by saying that she would if the plan was supported, even this didn’t help. Look at it from a different angle. She planned to be another prime minister from the ruling party, after Cameron who did nothing and just went to watch from the side as the county crumbles”

This is actually what I believe I was saying to coincide with the visuals (I take this from the recording made on a phone at the same time and now posted elsewhere on the internet): “She said she was going to resign if she gets the deal through. It’s an extraordinary thing to do to say if I’m successful, I will resign. And if that’s the deal she’s got to do, well, I understand it’s been successful and people are already lining up to compete for the next job of leader of the conservative party, therefore leader of the country and prime minister. It may have had a negative effect because the labour party detests the thought that there could be an even stronger leave voter in place to lead the country after Mrs May goes.”