Son of the White Mare Review

Mythology and tales of old are inevitably beautiful fodder for the animated genre. Just take a look at the opening moments of this Marcell Jankovics feature. An icy horse, basked in white and consumed by purples and yellows, pushed off of the screen by a ravage of cutting spikes. They all demonstrate, without dialogue, a story. These opening moments are fascinating, and they grow from there once speech is incorporated. An angered celestial beast attempts to tell a great story of a king and the son of a horse. Son of the White Mare provides fascinating visuals at the forefront and a story that drifts through, poking its head through the fog from time to time to remind audiences that, yes, it does exist. 

Not just exist, but it matters to the animation, probably. It is very easy to be taken away with Son of the White Mare on visuals alone. Jankovics’ work throughout provides such vivid awareness of the story that it transcends the dialogue provided. He is too good for words. It is why, thankfully, so few are used. Audiences can reasonably infer from the animation what is happening and why. Almost impossible not to attach the word “psychedelic” to Son of the White Mare, there is no good reason to avoid it, as old a cliché it may be. It is a tearing up of consciousness, a mesmerising experience that engages with its visuals fully and unflinchingly. But that is our loss, as well as the greatest gain Son of the White Mare makes. 

Its story, in a sense, is obsolete. Beautiful the film may be, and stirring the dialogue can be at times, the story is fragmented and inconclusive. That is for the best, though. Son of the White Mare coasts its way through such evocative moments that it is hard to feel all that strung-up by the lack of cohesion in its story. Characters come and go, imagery heightens and falters as the mood demands, and it all comes together without a desire to formulate a predictable or knowable story. Lines of dialogue that are completely transcendent of the traditional narrative, primarily because it is the only way to fit such details in, but also because Jankovics’ work would rather have the writing bend to the animation, rather than the animation crumble in front of the writing.  

Truly beautiful. Exploratory imagery displays the greater emotions and inhibitions of these god-like creatures. Their grunts and moans showcase their emotions. Their actions allow us to perceive their intentions, and although there is dialogue, it is never dependant on it. Jankovics’ work is mesmerising, and he does it all with a sense of compassion for his characters but also a need to inspire brutality from their surroundings. His sense of imagery and his fluidity as an artist is stunning. Son of the White Mare uses its surroundings and its scope of vivid animators to make for a delightful, impressive feature. The line between an art installation and narrative feature is blurred, and we are better for it.  

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