90 Movies in 90 Days: Son of the White Mare (1981)

I’m kicking off 2023 by trying to watch and review one movie every day for the first 90 days, all of which will be 90 minutes or less.

Title: Son of the White Mare
Release Date: 22 October 1981
Director: Marcell Jankovics
Production Company: PannóniaFilm

Son of the White Mare is a visually-stunning animated adaptation of ancient Hungarian folklore.  The White Mare actually has three sons, all humanoid with super powers.  The youngest and strongest is Treeshaker who teams up with his brothers Stonecrumbler and Irontemperer to find the entrance to the Underworld where three princesses have been kidnapped by three dragons.  The film is episodic, typically with the older brothers failing a quest, and then Treeshaker succeeding, and battles against new and bigger villains that anticipates video game structure.

What sets this movie apart is the bold colors and symmetrical design of the animation that feels like Mary Blair and Lisa Frank went to an acid test.  For viewers interested in literary symbolism, Treeshaker and his brothers represent masculine archetypes in a world that seems to be filled with representations of women’s genitatlia. This feels like the type of movie that was screened at midnight movies for generations of college students on hallucinogens, along with Fantastic Planet and Heavy Metal.  Turns out that it was only released in the US in 2020.  Even at 86 minutes, it feels like it goes on too long, but it’s definitely worth a watch.

Rating: ***1/2