Marcell Jankovics

The ambitious movies of Marcell Jankovics that in themselves represent a separate chapter within Hungarian animation are unique reworkings of Hungarian culture’s centuries-old story-telling tradition and iconography. Among this oeuvre, his first two full-length feature films stand alone; through them, the director wrote himself into the annals of universal film history. Johnny Corncob (János vitéz, 1973) and Son of the White Mare (Fehérlófia, 1981) are masterpieces stylized in a unique manner, which employ symbolic figuration and movement typical of auteurial films, as well as vibrating tonal patterns transforming in harmony with the shifting plotline. Marcell Jankovics was 30 when, in 1971, he received a commission to direct his debut full-length animation, Johnny Corncob (János vitéz, 1973). This is considered to be the very first full-length feature film in the history of Hungarian animation filmmaking. Johnny Corncob rates as an audience-friendly production based on narrative poetry almost universally known in Hungary. Its plotline is linear and its soundtrack was performed by Gjon Delhusa, one of the top pop artists of the time. However, Jankovics’s second long film, Fehérlófia (Fehérlófia, 1981), an “ornamental origin mythology”, broke radically with traditional image depiction, instrumentalization and narrative modalities. Due to its image solutions evoking abstract, experimental animation and its esoteric background audio, Fehérlófia was a true breakthrough in the global history of film animation.