The Tragedy of Man | Chicago Reader

The Tragedy of Man

160 minutes 2013

One of the most frequently performed Hungarian plays, Imre Madach's epic verse drama The Tragedy of Man (1861) is comparable to Paradise Lost, imagining the history of mankind—from the Garden of Eden to the end of the world—as narrated by Lucifer to Adam at the beginning of time. This animated adaptation qualifies as an epic in its own right: writer-director-designer Marcell Jankovics worked on it from 1988 to 2011, adapting each of the play's 15 acts as self-contained and separately released shorts. Each section has its own style; some are astonishing (the free-form portrait of Creation), while some are merely clever (a chapter whose ancient Egyptian characters resemble hieroglyphs). On the whole it's distinctive and heady, a worthy heir to such cult animations as Fantastic Planet and Heavy Traffic. In Hungarian with subtitles.

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