2012. március 9., péntek


Exhibition Animism Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin - (15.03.-06.05)  The exhibition’s starting point is the artistic-aesthetic process of animation, best known from cartoons and animation films, and examines its relationship with the categorial definitions and limits of the modern world-view.
Participating artists include Adam Avikainen, Marcel Broodthaers, Didier Demorcy, Walt Disney, Jimmie Durham, León Ferrari, J.J. Grandville, Victor Grippo, Candida Höfer, Tom Holert, Ken Jacobs, Yayoi Kusama, Lars Laumann, Len Lye, Daria Martin, Angela Melitopoulos und Maurizio Lazzarato, Vincent Monnikendam, Istvan Orosz, Roee Rosen, Dierk Schmidt, Erik Steinbrecher, Paulo Tavares, Rosemarie Trockel, Martin Zillinger e.a.

An other animation related event in Germany: the 19th Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film starts at 8th of May. Hungary is the guest of the festival, among others you can see Mind the Steps! (1989) and Chess! (2011).

A Brief Overview of Golden Age Hungarian Animation

Although you can find such well-known personalities as John Halas or George Pal at the beginning of Hungarian animation history between the two world wars, permanent animated film production was reinstituted by a few animators who stayed in Hungary during the postwar period. Most importantly it was Gyula Macskássy, a former colleague of John Halas, who assisted the foundation of the stateowned Pannónia Filmstudio in 1951, which, being one of the leading animation studios of the world until the change of regime in 1989, became the very base of Hungarian animation. Following the production of stereotypical children films and folktales during the highly centralized 50s, two shorts, Pencil and India Rubber and Duel by Macskássy and the cartoonist György Várnai, brought a break-through for Hungarian animation on an international scale in early 60s. From then onward, along with popular cartoon series for children purchased by the Hungarian National Television, special attention was given to short animations made primarily for a grown-up audience. These shorts, compared to the rigid political control of live action films, were centrally less censored as a matter of show of political liberty to the international arena at filmfestivals abroad. Also, because of the relative autonomy gained by the economic reforms in 1968, the production of animated family features were launched starting with Johnny Corncob in 1973, and followed by other adaptations of Hungarian literary classics and mythology, such as “Matt the Gooseboy” (1979) by Attila Dargay, “Son of the White Mare” (1981) by Marcell Jankovics, “Heroic Times” (1983) by József Gémes, and by such popular animated features as “Cat City” (1986), an animal parody of Hollywood spy films by Béla Ternovszky. This rich period between the 60s the 80s is usually referred to as the golden age of Hungarian animation. The new wave of short animations emerging in the 60s could effectively grasp the multilayered concerns of human existence. Largely influenced by twist-oriented caricatures. These absurd, satirical depictions of everyday situations can be hallmarked with shorts such as “Concertissimo” by József Gémes, “Moto perpetuo” by Béla Vajda or “Scenes with Beans” by Ottó Foky. Some directors choose to depict more universal themes of human existence and its purpose without having a direct (or rather indirect) reference to the current social-political situation. “Sisyphus”, an Oscarnominated short film by Marcell Jankovics, who is one of the leading animation directors until today, gives a truly original twist to the ancient myth of human endeavour. In “The Fly”, the Oscarwinning short movie by Ferenc Rofusz, the viewer has to identify with the distorted perspective of a small bug who is trapped in a house for good. The social-political dissonances and, as a result, the lack of perspective as a common generational experience of the age was reflected in allegoric ways by several animations from the 70s onward (“Hey, You!”by Péter Szoboszlay, “Mind the Steps!” by István Orosz). Truly the most individual authors of this period, starting their careers in the 60s, were György Kovásznai and Sándor Reisenbüchler. Kovásznai’s oeuvre was mainly based on expressive stop motion painted animations, and grasps the mood of his generation in a very unique way. Reisenbüchler, a dedicated hippie throughout his lifetime, made cutout collage short films, each being a harsh criticism of civilization and drawing attention to the universal social, ecological problems of humanity (“Farewell, Little Island!”, 1987). The following film overview of the Hungarian animation surely provides you with a lively and impressive depiction of the socialist era over the Iron Curtain while the relevance and validity of the very best of Hungarian animation short film history have not become outdated during the past decades.
(From the official site of the festival written by Anna Ida Orosz, animation film historian)