MOSCOW, April 6 (RIA Novosti) - Director Yuri Norstein's two masterpieces-"The Tale of Tales" and "A Hedgehog in the Fog"-are certainly the most popular of Russian animated cartoons. They have now found a new life outside the movies as the Private Collection Museum, branch of the Pushkin Fine Arts Museum, has started an exposition dedicated to their making, says the Gazeta daily.

The show offers four hundred sketches, scene and background layouts, and photographs-everything that remains hidden from the audiences after the film is screened. All that shop is precious with the spontaneous authenticity canvases and installations specially made for display often lack.

Norstein evaluates cartoons not against the yardstick of their own laws but according to the highest standards of world art, he said on a number of occasions.

Francesca Yarbusova, his wife and chief artist of almost all his films, is just as conscientious about her job and dedicated to it as he is. That, perhaps, is why their cartoons are evergreen.

The US Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences qualified "The Tale of Tales" as the best animated cartoon of all times and nations in 1984. Its Japanese counterpart ranked "A Hedgehog in the Fog" first and "The Tale of Tales" second twenty years after.

Woe and suffering has never before been the plot of an animated cartoon. Now, Yuri Norstein has put it hand-in-hand with a serene elegiac spirit to underlie each of his works. If he cannot cure pain, he at least makes it easier.

That apt remark came from Alexei Batalov, one of Russia's best actors, as he was addressing the exposition opening gala.

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