Video of this review: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75A4qMqZss
The Tragedy of Man 2011 I've heard Marcell Jankovics called the Hungarian Walt Disney and after seeing his 1981 film Feherlofia I didn't find myself in a position to disagree. Although one could make the argument that Jankovics' vision surpasses Disney's. So with that in mind I eagerly started watching Tragedy of man, a near three hour long adaptation of the well known, in Hungary anyway, play by Imre Madach. The first half hour did not disappoint. Jankovics psychedelic animation and a bombastic audio track provide one of the most compelling visual representations of the biblical creation and the fall I have ever seen. The brilliance of the animation really shines here, Jankovics presents the Adam and Eve story in such a way that Christians will not find offensive but atheists will appreciate for the possibility of a purely psychological interpretation. Unfortunately, the rest of the film's animation quality does not keep in pace with this early segment, indeed most of the film has a sort of 1 frame per second look to it. You know when you watch the making-ofs for animated features and they have scenes that haven't gotten sent off to the in-betweeners for that fluid motionwell, much of Tragedy has that feel. Now, this doesn't really detract as it gives the film a sort of dream like quality and some of the sequences surpass any other animation I've seen in terms pure visual impact. But in the, for example, future segment something about the animation just felt unfinished. This does not surprise me as the film took 20 years to make of which much of the time reportedly Jankovic spent raising funding for the project. The film also has more or less a constant fast paced dialog throughout the 160 minute run time. So if you don't like reading subtitles I would suggest waiting for a dubbed track, if one ever comes along, which doesn't feel all that likely. Those aspects aside the film has a scope and vision beyond just about anything else that I can think of that currently exists in the medium. It goes right to the heart of the human condition with an unflinching critical eye. I would not feel surprised if you came away from this picture with a new perspective on your life and humanity as a whole. If you enjoy things like 2001 A Space Odyssey and can meet it half way Tragedy of Man might just provide one of the most rewarding film experiences available, animated or otherwise.
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