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Eduard Nazarov's 'Zhil-byl pyos' (or, alternatively, 'Once Upon a Time There Lived a Dog') is based upon a classic Ukrainian fairytale that told of a dog making friends with a wolf, re-enforcing the age-old wisdom that good is always rewarded by good. When the clumsy and lazy domestic dog (voiced by Georgi Burkov) is banished from his home after neglecting to stop a burglar, he depressingly retreats into the forest and seems as though he is about to hang himself. However, a wheezy old wolf (Armen Dzhigarkhanyan) manages to talk him out of it, and he offers the dog his assistance in reclaiming the love of his family.
The following winter, the dog, long ago returned to his home, hears the mournful howls of the wolf, and he follows the sound. He finds the wolf huddled cold, weak and hungry amidst the snow, and so sets about returning the favour that had saved his life previously. His family is having a cheery party gathering in the house, and the dog and the wolf both crawl beneath the heaving table, with the former snagging every piece of food he can scrounge for his famished friend. Bloated and satisfied, the wolf thanks the dog and retreats drunkenly into the winter snow.
A combination of wonderful animation and a touching morality tale makes 'Zhil-byl pyos' one of the finest Russian animated shorts that I've seen. Interestingly enough, my favourite Russian animation of all time Yuriy Norshteyn's 'Skazka skazok / Tale of Tales' also features a wolf as a main character, and the film's title was originally to be 'The Little Grey Wolf Will Come,' before it was rejected by Russian censors.