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The Cow (1989)

Korova (original title)
In the outback, on the railway station there lives a family. 4th grade schoolboy Vasya Rubtsov is experiencing the death of his beloved best friend the cow. The boy remembers how they used ... See full summary »


Aleksandr Petrov (as A. Petrov)


Aleksandr Petrov (as A. Petrov), Andrey Platonov (novel) (as A. Platonov)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview:
Nikolai Gusarov Nikolai Gusarov ... (voice) (as N. Gusarov)
Lyubov Teplova Lyubov Teplova ... (voice) (as L. Teplova)
Kostya Panov Kostya Panov ... (voice)


In the outback, on the railway station there lives a family. 4th grade schoolboy Vasya Rubtsov is experiencing the death of his beloved best friend the cow. The boy remembers how they used to have a cow, how this cow fed everyone with milk and how she suffered when the calf was sold for meat. Written by Peter-Patrick76 (peter-patrick@mail.com)

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Plot Keywords:

boy | cow | calf | father | train | See All (20) »


Animation | Short | Drama

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Did You Know?


1990 - Grand Prix and Prize of the Asahi newspaper at the 3rd International Film Festival in Hiroshima (Japan). See more »


Featured in The International Tournee of Animation: Volume 4 (1991) See more »

User Reviews

"Our cow gave us everything... I remember our cow, and will not forget."
6 November 2007 | by ackstasisSee all my reviews

Aleksandr Petrov is one of the Soviet Union's most respected animators, and his accomplished use of paint-on-glass animation has made his films instantly recognisable and, above all else, absolutely timeless. Petrov studied at the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography (abbreviated to VGIK, and known as Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography since 1986), and, throughout the 1980s, refined his animation technique as art director on such films as 'Welcome (1986).' Petrov's directorial debut was 'Marathon (1988),' a short film that is currently unlisted on IMDb {as are countless works of excellent Soviet animation; if only the administrators didn't merely ignore my attempts at updating their database listings}.

However, the animator's breakthrough film was 'Korova / Cow,' a lovely and touching ten minute short about a young boy and his impoverished family's cow. The film received worldwide acclaim and was nominated at the 1990 Academy Awards, though Christoph and Wolfgang Lauenstein's interesting (but inferior) 'Balance (1989)' ultimately took the Oscar. Nevertheless, Petrov eventually won the award in 2000 for his breathtaking adaptation of 'The Old Man and the Sea (1999).' Petrov's style of animation has often been described as "romantic realism," and this is a generally good summation. His attention-to-detail, especially considering the difficult and time-consuming process of paint-on-glass, is absolutely staggering, and yet the slowly shifting colours and textures create a timeless, dream-like quality. It's as though his films exist in a moment permanently suspended between the real world and the world of our hopes, dreams and memories.

A young boy fondly remembers when his family used to own a beautiful cow. In times of poverty, she was a godsend, always providing mother, father and son with their daily serve of milk. One day, when times get particularly tough, the father is forced to sell the cow's young calf for meat. The heartbroken mother cow suddenly turns silent and obstinate, before breaking free and disappearing perilously into the Russian countryside. Though Petrov ordinarily strives for realism, the film's explosive climax is a wonderful piece of surrealism, as the young boy's dreams feverishly blend key components of the story – the cow, the railway line, the plough – into a singularly devastating conclusion.

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Soviet Union



Release Date:

1989 (Soviet Union) See more »

Also Known As:

Корова See more »


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