Son of the White Mare (1981)

aka Feherlofia
Article 4603 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 8-9-2014
Directed by Marcell Jankovics
Featuring the voices of Gyorgy Cserhalmi, Vera Pap, Gyula Szabo
Country: Hungary
What it is: Fantasy epic

A white mare gives birth to three sons, the third of which swears to go into the underworld and rescue three princesses held prisoner by dragons. Towards this end, he teams up with his two brothers and embarks on his quest.

This animated Hungarian movie was based on Hungarian folk tales and legends, and uses experimental animation techniques to tell the story. The result is, quite simply, a stunning visual feast with its animation roots as far back as the early films of Emile Cohl, though I do sense a certain kinship to YELLOW SUBMARINE as well. The use of color and the ways the various scenes melt into each other are simply breathtaking, and though I sense some might not warm to the visual style of the piece, I consider this one of the finest animated movies I’ve seen. While watching this, I found myself thinking about the 3D computer animation techniques that have risen up during the last couple of decades and now seem to dominate the animation landscape. Many fine movies have resulted from this style, but I can’t help but feel that this technique still lacks the breadth of creativity of the older animation techniques; I wonder if these new techniques will ever lend themselves to anything like this movie I’ve just seen. Still, the new animation has many years to grow yet; perhaps it will reach those levels someday.


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