There were rich pickings at this year’s Fantasia International Film Festival, which wrapped up this week in Montreal, Canada. One of the highlights was the world premiere of a digital restoration of Son of the White Mare (Fehérlófia), Marcell Jankovics’s psychedelic wonder, which screened on Monday. The cult Hungarian feature has been broadly inaccessible to North American audiences until now.
Taking its cues from Hungarian myths, Son of the White Mare tells a tale of kings, dragons, and heroic derring-do. On the whole, the story plays second fiddle to the extraordinary design, an explosion of vivid colors and shifting shapes that have had viewers suspecting the influence of drugs. While the visuals take a cue from graphic styles of the era — the film was released in 1981 — they somehow manage to look strikingly contemporary, too.
The 4k restoration was a joint venture between the L.A.-based Arbelos Films and the Hungarian National Film Fund’s Film Archive and Film Lab. Arbelos is in distribution as well as restoration: its catalogue includes Eiichi Yamamoto’s erotic anime masterpiece Belladonna of Sadness. The company has picked up the North, Central, and South American rights to Jankovics’s film.