Blu-ray Review: Son of the White Mare
Son of the white mare
Jul 01, 2021
Long ago, a great king divided the world between his three sons and their wives. The Princesses, however, disregarded his command alone and opened a lock that unleashed three horrific dragons upon their world; the princes were killed and their wives held captive in their castles. Some time later, the queen transformed into a white mare gives birth to a new prince, named Treeshaker. He ventures out into the world, reuniting his lost brothers and embarking on a long and dangerous quest in the underworld to defeat the dragons and reclaim their birthright.
Released 1981, Marcell Jankovics Son of the white mare is a singular piece of animation. The film is drawn in a unique way that merges Art Nouveau with a style of folk art that can almost be described as primitive, but matches the story told in a calming way, based on Central European folklore. and giving the impression that it was taken from ancient times. The story is repetitive – everything seems to come in a trio – but not boring; the presentation, purely psychedelic. Jankovics insists that it’s impossible for a team of animators to take drugs in the many months it takes to produce a hand-drawn animated feature, but watching this you’ll find it hard to believe him.
The characters melt; merge; and reform in the intensely colorful and gooey animation style; the backgrounds develop in swirling, symmetrical and geometric patterns. Our heroes and villains are drawn without borders, giving them a flowing quality where they rarely stop transforming. Think about your favorite psychedelic album covers: The Beatles Revolver, Cream Disraeli gears– and imagine those animated for 90 minutes. It’s almost wrong that something this decadent was allowed to be done, given the amount of work involved in something so detailed – but, by god, any fan of experimental animation (and / or far -out) will be glad that this just doesn’t exist. , but was lovingly restored and released on a gorgeous Blu-ray after four decades of relative obscurity.
Another video label would have marketed this as “Marcell Jankovics: Collected Works” or something similar, as there is much more than Jankovics’ most famous masterpiece present on this record. The release also includes another feature film: Janos Vitez (1973) or Johnny corncob, the first Hungarian animated feature film and a blockbuster in its national release. Commissioned by the government to commemorate the 150th birthday of poet Sandor Petofi, the film is visually indebted to Yellow submarine (1968) – and Jankovics readily admits it in the included interview – but it’s still a feast for the eyes, especially in the bright, contrasting colors that are easy to appreciate on this Blu-ray edition. You’ll also find two of Jankovics’ acclaimed expressionist shorts: Sisyphus (1974) and The struggle (1977), the first of which was nominated for an Oscar. Finally, there’s an Air India commercial that was one of Jankovics’ early directorial efforts, and by far the most drugged airline commercial you’ve ever come across.
Beyond all the fantastic animation loaded onto the disc, there’s also a newly recorded half-hour interview with the filmmaker that touches on all of the works included here. (Jankovics passed away just a few weeks ago, making it an inclusion we’re especially grateful to find here.) The booklet also includes two essays: the first, by Charles Solomon, contains a White mare, which is incredibly useful for anyone unfamiliar with Hungarian folklore and sometimes wondering what is going on in the movie. (Which will likely happen.) As a package, it’s great value for any animated movie lover – not only does it deliver an unseen masterpiece that’s long gone without an official release. United States, but provides incredible insight into the work of an underrated master of the art.