Mirjam Mäekivi on new cartoon version of Estonian kids' classic 'Sipsik'

"Sipsik". Source: A Film Eesti

ERR journalist Mirjam Mäekivi dropped in on this week's ETV culture show "OP", to give her impressions of the opposing opinions that the animation of beloved children's character "Sipsik" has created.

Sipsik is one of the most-loved children's literary heroes in Estonia, from a successful book of the same name, and created by the author Eno Raud. Sipsik is a talking and thinking rag doll, sewn by Mart, for his sister Anu's birthday. On February 21, a new version of the story was released in cinemas around Estonia.

Viewers opinions of the new film have been mixed.

Mirjam Mäekivi said that the most negative side to "Sipsik" is that, in the marketing campaign prior to the film, it was emphasized how it was going to be based on the book written by Eno Raud and illustrated by Edgar Valter but instead, the story of the film took a rather different direction.

"Whereas the book talks about the story of Sipsik with Anu and Mart, who are discovering the world and get into trouble, the film focuses on the conflict between Mart and Anu and, at times, Sipsik feels guilty," Mirjam said.

"They have taken some single pieces from Eno Raud's 'Sipsik'; I understand that because of the modern and international audience, they have intertwined some new parts but they haven't tied them together," she said, adding that an Estonian child who is familiar with the original story may not understand why the new parts appear.

"At the same time, a foreign viewer who doesn't know anything about 'Sipsik', doesn't understand the episodes familiar to Estonians."

"Sipsik's distress, which isn't present in the book, is a disproportionately large part of the film," Mäekivi thought and confirmed that in the book, Anu and Mart are ordinary children.

"The critics have laid the charge that the parents of the snowflake generation haven't ever seen whining and fighting children; of course I have, I see it with my own children, but are children today all that depressed, sad and distressed?" she opined, adding that the film doesn't provide a positive solution to this problem.

"The ending of the film is positive, but how they reach the idea, because their parents are not supportive about it and children don't solve this kind of a situation on their own, was a little illogical.

"It's best to read 'Sipsik' to three-to six-year-old children, but if this target group goes to see the movie and has been prepared by their parents based on the book and come to see it as scary, then the child is just expressing their feelings and it shouldn't be criticized," she said, and added that a parent is someone who should be directing their child to something.

"Regarding a cinema or the book, the parent makes the decision and gives money to go to the cinema, so it has to offer them something also, not only create questions."

According to Mäekivi, the film's production team still hasn't clearly explained why they chose this direction.

"I'm saying that you should definitely go and see it, everybody has the right to think what they want to think, the film isn't a disaster and children won't be traumatized by it," she said, adding that when going to see a film adaptation, you needn't expect to see the story you have read.

"Sipsik" is currently running in Estonian cinemas.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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