Marcell Jankovics’s Fehérlófia Marcell Jankovics’s Fehérlófia

Every so often I find out about such an awesome piece of animation that I’m ashamed to admit I’ve never heard about it before. Tonight was such an instance when my friend Joshua Smith introduced me to the 1982 Hungarian animated feature Fehérlófia (aka Son Of The White Mare) directed by the legendary Marcell Jankovics. (Note: Other websites peg the film’s release date as 1980 and ’81. If anybody knows for sure, let us know.)

Admittedly I’ve never followed Jankovics’s work very closely. Like most indie animation fans I’m familiar with his award-winning short Sisyphus (warning: unintentionally NSFW soundtrack) and that’s about all. I had no idea that he’d also directed features, especially one as daringly experimental as this one. The first bit of Fehérlófia that I watched was this clip:

After watching this, I thought there’s no way there could be an entire film that maintains this visual intensity and innovation throughout. Then a search on YouTube revealed that the entire film is posted in eight parts and in fact it’s a pretty damn amazing piece of work. Visually, it’s rooted in a pastiche of late-’70s/early-’80s graphic styles yet it also manages to look remarkably fresh and contemporary. This ten-minute segment blew me away:

What the film lacks in the type of nuanced character animation that we demand from our US animated features, it more than makes up for with its experimental graphic animation and sweeping artistic vision. Joshua Smith tells me that he’s working to create an English fansub of the film. I hope he makes that available online so we can all learn if the story is as fascinating as the artwork.

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