Animation movie director, book illustrator, art historian, symbol researcher, writer. He has won several Hungarian and international awards and prizes. As a film director he is an emblematic figure of Hungarian animation and movie art. He has achieved outstanding successes as an art historian, and he also an author of educational books, as an illustrator and as a graphic artist. Generations have grown up watching or reading his tales and films. He is an outstanding personage of Hungarian culture; his oeuvre is a determinative part of Hungarian culture.
Jankovics Marcell comes from on the father’s side a Catholic on the mother’s side a Lutheran family.
His father was a bank clerk Jankovics Marcell (1906 - 1970), his mother, Bartha Margit (1906 - 1981). His father was an open-minded, well-educated man, a real intellectual. His mother was an elegant, tough lady with a straight spine. His grandfather on his father’s side was writer, politician, lawyer Dr. Jankovics Marcell (1874 - 1949) who also achieved significant results as a mountain-climber. His grandfather on his mother’s side was optician and army surgeon Dr. Bartha László (1870 - 1938), who retired from the army with the rank of a medical general after the 1st World War. His sister, Jankovics Eszter (1934 - ) currently lives in the United States.
His father was arrested based on groundless accusations and was sentenced to life in 1950. He was kept alive but had a stroke in the prison at the age of forty-eight which ruined his physical and mental condition; and the family was forced to live in isolation for years.
His family was relocated to Öcsöd in 1951 and they were allowed to return only in 1953.
His mother was received by relatives, and Jankovics Marcell was brought up by his aunt. He wrote his homework at his grandfather’s (Jankovics Marcell senior’s) desk. His grandfather’s home library, his personal objects that surrounded him as well as the intellectual nature of the family serves as a compass. However, his mother’s absence, the atrocities towards his father, the shadow of terror and uncertainty were detrimental in his schoolyears.
His mother enrolled him to the Benedictine High School (and Boarding School) of Pannonhalma (originally: Pannonhalma Saint Benedict Order’s Grammar School) in 1955, where he took his final exams. Like the war and the relocation Pannonhalma became a determinative experience in his life. He wrote about this in long details in his autobiographical writing titled “Lékiratok” (the book was later destroyed). During the years in Pannonhalma, he learnt discipline, persistence, adjustment to limitations and possibilities, and his teachers’ professional quality subsequently provided him a lifelong solid basis for comprehensive erudition. He studied languages (Russian, Latin, English and French) and his intensified interest in Christian past became his obsession.
His father was freed from the prison in 1956, and after the defeat of the revolution he could stay at large with custody. However, he became invalid because of his stroke and he needed constant care for the rest of his life.
Jankovics Marcell’s older sister, Jankovics Eszter could not finish her high school studies because of the relocation. She worked in the state-owned farm in Öcsöd, then - after 1953 as a stoker, and later she made money by serving in Western embassies. She also paid for her younger brother’s education in Pannonhalma. She escaped from the dehumanizing circumstances to the United States in 1956. There she found a new home, finished university and made an existence for herself. She retired as a librarian.
After finishing high school Jankovics Marcell applied to the Hungarian Technical University’s Architectural Faculty in two subsequent years. He was openly refused because of his father’s “sins”. In 1959 - 1960 he worked at the Power Station Repair and Maintenance Company’s (ERŐKAR) Material Testing Laboratory, first as an unskilled material handling worker, then as a trained tube expanding worker. He remembers this period as a determinative experience in his life. He received a possibility for moving further in life due to working there. A co-worker “recommended” him to the Pannónia Film Company (later Pannónia Film Studio then Pannóniafilm Ltd.) where he started his career from 1960 as a frame drawing trainee.
Jankovics Marcell’s childhood was shadowed by the disgrace that his family suffered, the relocation, poverty, the absence of the father. He suffered for sins - like many of us - that he never committed. He was saved by his drawing skills and some fortunate personal characteristics: he could stay jovial under any circumstances and he handled ordeals with a positive humor.
At the start of his career he came across three significant artists’ individual working methods: Nepp József’s special sense of humor which harmonized view, sound and thoughts. Kovásznai György’s artistic view and his layered, artistic collage animation technique that lined up visualized thoughts next to each other and Macskássy Gyula’s brief, clean and symbolic visualizing method. These three ways of work did not impede each other, but harmonized in Jankovics Marcell’s later works in a distinctive way. We also have to mention Reisenbüchler Sándor, if we want to list the masters he learnt from. Although he never followed them with subservience but rather incorporated the observed professional methods into his artistic view.
In 1965 he was promoted to a film director and for three years he worked together with Dargay Attila and Nepp József on the extremely popular animation movie series “Gusztáv” until 1968.
From that moment on his career went on a straight path - with hardly any interruption. The “Gusztáv” series provided him with practice and gave him popularity, and subsequently could continue his development. He could make newer and newer short movies (that brought him international success and professional prestige), in the meantime his own artistic conception and ars poetica evolved.
As early as 1971 - 72 he taught animation in the Secondary School of Visual Arts.
In 1973 he completed his first full-length film, the “János Vitéz” (John the Valiant), which is a milestone in the history of Hungarian animation movie production. It is still popular among Hungarian viewers, but the Soviet Union did not buy it stating that it was a nationalist production. The former American Hanna-Barbera animation movie studio (Hanna-Barbera Productions Inc.) purchased the right to show “János Vitéz” but then it was never shown in any Anglo-Saxon region. On the other hand, several hundred million people saw the movie in China - thanks to Petőfi’s popularity there and the pentathlon soundtrack.
Related to the “János Vitéz” new, lifelong friendships were made, that helped Jankovics Marcell’s professional development, as well. He made friends with folklore researcher Hoppál Mihály thanks to this film, and later on they joined an unbreakable and strong emotional and intellectual community with two others, fine artist Szemadám György and historian Szakály Ferenc, as well (and they still maintain this deep friendship with the two still living friends). He called his three friends the “three musketeers”, and himself a fourth musketeer who cannot be ranked, who cannot be categorized or put in any box, an outsider forever. In 1981 this close circle of friends, established the 15th March Society altogether with sculptor Péterfy László, Csete György, architect Makovecz Imre, psychiatrist Kelemen András, poet Kovács István, applied artist Molnár Imre and others, that Awarded outstanding life careers with a private Prize for thirty years, rebelling against the often aborted and unfair Awarding practice of the era.
In addition to full-length movies Jankovics Marcell did not stop making short films; he subsequently won at international professional competitions, his 1974 work “Sisyphus” was even nominated for an Oscar Award.
He can be proud of forty something national and international Awards; he represented our country as a member of the jury in nine international film festivals: in Zagreb, in New York, twice (with 17 years difference) in Teheran, in Espino, in Ottawa, in Oberhausen, in Krakow, and in Hiroshima, seven times with Hungarian success.
Jankovics Marcell’s popularity is due to his community centered attitude and his positive intellectuality. His easy going lecturing skills and his confident professional knowledge make him a popular and determinative figure of Hungarian culture.
The biography was written by: Mirtse Zsuzsanna, 2013.
Budapest, 21st October 1941
1955 - 1959: Benedictine High School of Pannonhalma
1959 - 1960: Power Station Repair and Maintenance Company, Material Testing Laboratory (material handler, trained tube expanding worker)
1960 - 2007: Pannónia Film Studio (today: Pannóniafilm Ltd.) drawer, designer, 1965 - film director, 1996 - 2007 managing director
1971 - 1972: Secondary School of Visual Art (teaches Animation)
1981 - 2002: University of Applied Arts (today: Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design), lecturer, 1997: DLA level, 2000: lecturer, professor, 2004 - 2011: lecturer at doctorandus training
2007: Kossuth Lajos University of Debrecen, Communication and Visual Communication Faculty, guest lecturer
2009 - 2010: Academy of Drama and Film in Budapest, guest lecturer for the students of puppet actor and puppet show director faculty
Art and social organization memberships
1965 - : Association of Hungarian Film Artists, member, 1975 - : member of presidency then member of caucus
ASIFA (Association Internationale du Film d'Animation - International Organization of Animation Artists) 1973 - 1978: member of presidency
1991 - 1992: Duna TV member of Board of Trustees
1993 - 2011: member of MMA social organization
1998 - 2002, 2011 - 2012: president of National Cultural Fund
1998 - : president of Hungarian Educational Association
2005 - : Németh László Foundation, founding member
2011 - : Hungarian Academy of Arts, regular member, member of presidency; 2014 - : vice-president
Jankovics Marcell: Curriculum vitae
The world has got to know me as an animation movie director, but my career as a graphic artist and a book illustrator were determinative as well; moreover I am considered a culture historian. Earlier I drew comics, but exclusively from the works of prestigious writers (e.g. Oscar Wilde, Stanislaw Lem or Jókai Mór). I have designed animation movie posters and logos, illustrated children’s books and other literature - in addition to my own books. I have published articles, studies and books. Eighteen volumes so far mainly in the topics of education and culture history and I do not even know the number of my smaller writings. I give lectures in conferences, in universities, colleges, in secondary schools and public education institutes about animation, overall about films, about culture history and art, and about the questions of bringing up children, culture politics and about public life.
Between 1988 and 1998 I regularly made educational TV programs as a script writer, reporter and a director, four hundred and forty ones to be exact. Recently I have started to work in this field again. I regularly participate in producing educational TV and radio programs. I am a cofounder of DUNA TV. I worked as a curator, a chairman and as the president of the program board from the start. I dabbled in theatre work, as well. I directed two folk music plays for the University Stage (In 1981 and 1982). In 1997 The Budapest Puppet Theatre introduced my show titled “Bábiloni Biblia” (Bible of Bábilon) which was written, designed and directed by me. I was a co-author of the first five volumes of the “Magyar Nagylexikon” (The Great Hungarian Encyclopedia) (1993 - 1997). I participated in the ultimately foiled Budapest EXPO ’96 and took part in the design of the EXPO 2000’s Hungarian program in Hannover.
I am a member and representative in several associations and organizations. I am proud of the fact that together with my closest friends I was a curator and member of the 15th March Society that awarded those deemed worthy from 15th March 1981 for thirty years. I appreciated the possibility that I could give celebration speeches on 15th March (in 1998 and 2000 in Budapest, in 2002 in Sepsiszentgyörgy, in 2004 in Nagytarcsa, in 2006 in Balatonfüred, in 2008 in Szeged). In 1993 the Hungarian Academy of Arts accepted me as a member. From 1998 to 2000 I was the president of the National Cultural Fund of Hungary (NKA), and then between 2007 and 2009 I was the president of the supervisory board of the Ópusztaszer National Historic Memorial Park Kht.
On 1st August 2010 I was assigned as the president of the National Cultural Fund of Hungary again. On 15th October 2011 they absolved me with common agreement. The same year when the Hungarian Academy of Arts received the rank of a public body, the membership voted me into the presidency of the Academy.
Jankovics Marcell - György László: “Fehérlófia” (Son of the White Mare), Pannónia Catering Inc., Bp., 1979 “Mítoszok, mesék, jelek” (Myths, Tales and Signs) Volume 1 (selection and foreword: Bak Imre and Hertelendy Júlia, Jankovics Marcell) 1980
Nazim Hikmet: “A szerelmes felhő” (The Cloud in Love), Móra Publishing House, Bp., 1980
The Fox Deceiving Landlords: Hungarian Folk Tales, drawings by P. Horváth Mária on the basis of the graphic material by Jankovics Marcell and Lisziák Elek, the Hungarian text was reviewed by Bartók István, (published by Pannonia Film), translated by Butykay István, Pannónia Film Company,Bp.,1986
Der Fuchs auf Quartiersuche : Ungarische Volksmärchen. [... nach dem graphischen Material der Filmfolge von Marcell Jankovics und Elek Lisziák ... gezeichnet von Mária MIN Horváth] ; [Textbearb. István Bartók]; [Hrsg. Pannonia Film] / [übertr. von Henriette Schade]. Pannónia Film Váll., Bp., 1986 A “szállást kérő róka: Magyar népmesék” (The Fox Deceiving Landlords: Hungarian Folk Tales), drawings by P. Horváth Mária on the basis of the graphic material by Jankovics Marcell and Lisziák Elek, the Hungarian text was reviewed by Bartók István, translated by Butykay István, Pannónia Film Ltd.,Bp., 1986 Duch z Canterville. [scenariusz Tibor Cs. Horváth na podst. opowiadania Oscara Wilde'a]; [rysunki Marcell Jankovics]. Warszawa: Krajowa Agencja Wyd., 1988. “Mátyás, az igazságos.Mesék, mondák, történetek”.(King Matthias the Just: Tales, Legends and Stories) (selection and epilogue by: Kríza Ildikó; type indicator: Benedek Katalin) Akadémiai Publishing House, Bp., 1990, 1992, 1994 “Csodakút: népmese, beavatás, álomfejtés, Napút, mélylélektan, ezotéria: tanulmányok a népmeséről” (Magic Well: Folk Tales, Initiation, Dream-reading, “Napút”, Esoterica; Studies about Folk Tales). (edited by: Pap Gábor) Pontifex, Debrecen, 1994 “Parazsat evő paripa: magyar népmesék” (The Horse that Ate Ember: Hungarian Folk Tales) with the drawings of Jankovics Marcell (selection and reviewed: Ágh István, contributed: Ágh Zsófia), Officina Nova - Hungarian Book Club, Bp., 1995 “Mesék és mondák Mátyás királyról” (Tales and Legends about King Matthias). Hungarian Book Club, Bp., 1999 “Ének a csodaszarvasról “(Song of the Miraculous Hind) Csokonai Publishing House, Debrecen, 2001 “A fortélyos öreg” (The Cunning Old Man) Officina Publishing House, Bp., 2002 (reprints: 2003, 2004, 2007) “Mesék és mondák Mátyás királyról” (Tales and Legends about King Matthias),
Helikon Publishing House, Bp., 2004 (3rd publication)
Anga Mária: “A bicegő hintaló: bükkös mesék” (The Limping Rocking Horse: Beech Tales) with Jankovics Marcell’s drawings, Felsőmagyarország Publishing House, Miskolc, 2004
Mirtse Zsuzsa: “Égforgató csodagyűrű” (The Magic Ring that Rotates the Sky) Méry Ratio, Somorja, 2004 Sebestyén Márta: “Hangzó Helikon” (Sounding Helicon) Helikon Publishing House, Bp., 2004 Kátai Zoltán: “Hangzó Helikon” (Sounding Helicon) Helikon Publishing House, Bp., 2005
Sebestyén Márta: Hungarian Folk Songs. Sounding Helicon. CD, translation by Adam Makkai, Helikon, Bp., 2006 “A fortélyos öreg: 99 magyar népmese”, (The Cunning Old Man: 99 Hungarian Folk Tales) (selected and edited by Mezey Katalin) 4th publication, Officina Junior, Bp., 2007 “Az aranyszőrű bárány és más mesék”, (The Lamb with Golden Fur and other Tales) Alexandra, Pécs, 2008
Mirtse Zsuzsa: Lovagkór: könyörtelen játék nemekkel és igenekkel. (Knight Disease, Cruel Games with Yes and No) with Jankovics Marcell’s ink drawings, Méry Ratio, Somorja 2007, 2015
Iancu Laura: Élet(fogytiglan), vallomások: levelek Borbáth Erzsébethez. (Life/sentence, Confessions: Letters to Borbáth Erzsébet), Universitas Szeged, 2009 (Szatírikon Books)
Szemadám György: Vándorok könyve:A tarot kártyától az ember tragédiájáig (Book of Wanderers: from Tarot Cards to the Tragedy of Man). Széphalom Kvműhely - Trade Union of Writers, Bp., 2009
Arany János: Toldi. (Arany János: Toldi) Méry Rátio, Somorja, 2010
Madách Imre: Az ember tragédiája, Madách Imre: The Tragedy of Man, with images from the animated film adaptation by Marcell Jankovics) 2nd publication, Akadémiai Publishing House, Bp., 2012
Madách Imre: Az ember tragédiája, (Madách Imre: The Tragedy of Man) with images from the animated film adaptation by Marcell Jankovics; translation by C. P. Sanger. Akadémiai Publishing House, 2012 “Macskássy Gyula: animációsfilm - rendező tervezőgrafikus a magyar rajzfilmgyártás megteremtője”, (Macskássy Gyula: Animation Movie Director, Graphic Designer, the Creator of Hungarian Animation Movie Production) (editor: Macskássy Katalin, Orosz Anna Ida, Orosz Márton) Utisz Graphic Workshop Studio, Budakeszi, 2013 Az égig érő paszuly és más mesék. (The Bean Bush Growing to the Skies and other Tales) Pécs, Alexandra, 2014
Lázár Ervin: Magyar mondák (Hungarian Legends). Helikon, Bp., 2014
Imre Madách: Tragedia człowieka: poemat dramatyczny. (przeł. Bohdan Zadura) Wrocław: Biuro Literackie, 2014.
Sebestyén Gyula: Gesta Hungarorum - A magyar hősmondák öt könyve (Gesta Hungarorum - Five Books of Hungarian Legends of Heroes). “Szülőföld” Publishing House, Gencsapáti, 2017
Petrolay Margit: A só - Népmese. (The Salt - Folk Tale, Based on Jankovics Marcell’s animation movie), (graphic work: Hegedűs László, Debreczeni Katalin; editor: Molnár Ottó) Hungarian Filmstrip Producer Company, Bp., 1978. Eb, aki a kanalát meg nem eszi. (The one who cannot Eat their Spoon is a Dog) (design: Jankovics Marcell; graphic work: Neuverger Gizella; editor: Fehér Judit.) Hungarian Filmstrip Producer Company, Bp., 1981, 1982
Illustrations (besides his own books)
Nazim Hikmet: A szerelmes felhő, (The Cloud in Love), Móra Publishing House, 1980
Mátyás, az igazságos (King Matthias the Just) (editor: Nagy Ilona - Kriza Ildikó), Akadémia Publishing House, 1990 (reprint 1992)
Mesék és mondák Mátyás királyról, (Tales and Legends about King Matthias - reprint of the previous book), Hungarian Book Club, 1999
Parazsat evő paripa (The Horse that Ate Ember), Officina Publishing House, 1995
Ének a csodaszarvasról (Song of the Miraculous Hind), Csokonai Publishing House, Debrecen, 2001
A fortélyos öreg (The Cunning Old Man), Officina Publishing House, 2002 (reprints 2003, 2004, 2007)
Mirtse Zsuzsa: Az égforgató csodagyűrű (The Magic Ring that Rotates the Sky), Méry Ratio, 2004
Mesék és mondák Mátyás királyról (Tales and Legends about King Matthias) (3rd publication), Helikon, 2004
Anga Mária: A bicegő hintaló (The Limping Rocking Horse), “Felső - Magyarország” Publishing House, 2004
Sebestyén Márta: Hangzó Helikon (Sounding Helicon), Helikon Publishing House, 2004
Kátai Zoltán: Hangzó Helikon (Sounding Helicon), Helikon Publishing House, 2005
Mirtse Zsuzsa: Lovagkór - játék nemekkel és igenekkel (Knight Disease, Cruel Games with Yes and No), Méry Ratio, 2007
Iancu Laura: Élet(fogytiglan) (Life/sentence), Universitas, Szeged, 2009
Arany János: Toldi (Toldi), Méry Ratio, 2010
Lázár Ervin: Magyar mondák (Hungarian Legends). Helikon - 2014 Christmas.
5 - re ma várom a Bem mozinál / Gusztáv sorozat (I am waiting for you at the Bem cinema at 5 / Gustav series)
Lúdas Matyi (Mattie the Goose - boy)
Fehérlófia 1 - 2 (Son of the White Mare 1 - 2)
Ének a Csodaszarvasról (Song of the Miraculous Hind)
Az ember tragédiája (The Tragedy of Man)
Bencés Book Publishing House
MTV Religious programs
Kárpát Wreath Association
Black Panther (animated, too) for the Kiss Rigó László Football High School, Gyula
Hungarian Conservative Fund (design)
The Great Sport Selection (design)
Rising Sun Association (design)
Selected educational TV programs
1989 Channel 3series (editor: Csonka Erzsébet) MTV 1989 What are animals like? (Dragon and Snake, Deer, Horse, Birds, Wonderful Trees) 1989 Trees of Life (Paradise Gardens, The Tree that grew up to the Skies, Chosen one among Trees) 1990 Animals and Beasts in Mythology (Dragon, Bear, Fish, Imagined Creatures) 1991 Wonderful Time of Blessed Easter (Editor: Csonka E.) 1992 Stories about Stars (editor: Csonka E.) 1992 From Sisyphus to Prometheus (editor: Csonka E.) 1992 In Cloud-cape with Star-crown (editor: Csonka E.) 1992 The Right Time of Things (editor: Csonka E.) 1993 Christ Portraits (editor: Csonka E.) 1993 Who has Existed from the Beginning (13 episodes about Monotheism), (editor: Csonka E.) 1994 Legend and History (13 episodes, archeological and historical series related to the animation movie series of Legends from Hungarian History, (editor: Csonka E.) 1994 Collection of Symbols (13 episodes, TV version of the book with the same title) 1996 Christmas, Let the Skies Dew, Golden Branch on Golden Tree, New Years’ Eve, Epiphany, The three Wise Men from the East) 1997 Zodiacs (13 episodes, editor: Csonka E.) 1997 - 1998Calendar of Symbols (series, editor: Kertész Éva) TV2 1998 “Cirka-firka” (Animation educational series: Portrait about Nepp József, own editing) MTV 1998 Manger under the Star (Christmas program, own edition) MTV 1998 “Animare necesse est” (editor: M. Tóth Éva) MTV 2003 Easter (editor: Csonka E.) Duna TV; Chosen one among Trees; Guest: Klaniczay Gábor; Holy Graves; guest: Korzenszky Richárd; The Holy Cross by its Origin 2004 Duna Promenade (editor: Fátyol Réka) Hungarian Symbols 5x5 minutes series, Hír TV, 2004 Song of the Miraculous Hind (editor: Kernács Gabriella) MTV 2004 Places of Pilgrimages 2004 The Pálos Order 2004 Gyöngyöspata (editor: Greguss Sándor) PAX TV 2005 Pictures of the Tragedy (Kernács Gabriella) MTV 2005 See the Sky, Embrace a Tree … - Loving Geometry (Duna TV, Hollós László) 2005 Our Holidays (Kernács Gabriella) MTV 2008 From Jánoska to Mikulás - two parts film about Saint John of Nepomuk (own editing) Neuropa Ltd. - Duna TV 2008 The Bards of Wales - picture script 2009 The Tragedy of Man - 11th Scene: Oh, Fortuna! (28.5 min) 2011 The Tragedy of Man - full-length computer version (155 min Premiere Gala 27 November, 6 December. National Movie Marketing from 8 December. DVD, BluRay after a year. 2012 Hungarian Saints and Blesseds (series) Saint Stephen 1 - 4, 4x26 min 2014 Remembering the Arpad Dynasty - King Béla III (18 - 20 min) 2015 Hungarian Saints and Blesseds- Saint Elisabeth of Hungary (with Roses), 26 min 2015 – 2017 Hungarian Saints and Blesseds- Saint Ladislaus 2 x 26 min 2015 – 17 Hungarian Saints and Blesseds- Saint Princesses 26 min 2015 – 17 Hungarian Saints and Blesseds – Saint Queens 26 min 2015 Imago (5 min) 2016 Crusaders in Hungary (King Béla III - second part)
Animation movie filmography:
“OTP, SZÖVOSZ, Dutra tractor D4K” (advertisements: 1 - 1 min), 1963
United States Steel Co. (advertisement: 4x 30 sec, for American order, with Szoboszlay Péter), 1964 “Gusztáv” (Gustav) (series: 68 x 5 min, writer, designer, director: Nepp József, Dargay Attila and others), 1964 - 1968 “Szilveszteri Legenda”, (Legend on New Years’ Eve) (7 min, from Karinthy Ferenc’s short story), 1965
“Cogito, ergo sum” (50 sec, for the Montreal EXPO tender), 1966 “Tendenciák” (Tendencies) (8.5 min), 1967 “Álmok Szárnyán” (Dreams on Wings) (9 min, Air India advertisement), 1968 “Hídavatás” , (Bridge Inauguration) (4.5 min, from Bélai István’s short film), 1969 “Pucky Pinky” (5 min, sample film made to a French order for a TV series), 1970 "Mélyvíz" (Deep Water) (1.5 min), 1970 "A róka és a holló" (The Raven and the Fox) (13 min, an episode of a La Fontaine series, French-Hungarian co-production), 1971 "A gém" (The Crane) (13 min, an episode of a La Fontaine series), 1971 "Mással beszélnek" (The Line is Busy) (3 min, object animation), 1971 "Az élet vize" (The Water of Life) (3 min, based on a short story by Bojtár Endre), 1971 "Kérem a következőt!" (Next Please!) (designing the main characters and graphic design of the animated series), 1971 "János vitéz" (John the Valiant) (78 min, co-written by Szabó Sípos Tamás and Szoboszlay Péter), 1971 - 1973 “Sisyphus” (2 min), 1974 "Add tovább, szamár a végállomás!" (Pass It On) (2 min), 1974 "Gusztáv" (Gustav) (series: 52 x 5 min, lead director), 1976 - 78 "Küzdők" (Wrestlers) (3 min), 1977 "Magyar Népmesék" (Hungarian Folk Tales) (series: 81 x 6 - 7.5 min, writer, designer, director; dramaturge initially with Lisziák Elek, then later along with the lead artists of Kecskemétfilm Ltd., primarily Horváth Mária and Nagy Lajos), 1977 - 2002 “Fehérlófia”, (Son of the White Mare) (80 min), 1979 - 1981 “Tangram” (4 x 3 min, papercut miniseries based on a Chinese game of the same name), 1986 "Mondák a magyar történelemből" (Legends from Hungarian History) (series: 13 x 10 min, writer, designer, director; produced by the latter Kecskemétfilm), 1986 - 1988 "Teremtés" (Genesis) (25 min, the first episode of a planned but cancelled Bible series), 1989 "A sámán Eurázsiában" (The Shaman in Eurasia) (35 min, animated infotainment film, co-writer, co-directed by Hoppál Mihály, produced by latter Kecskemétfilm), 1989 "TV 'Rövidkék' (TV Shorts) (13 x 5 - 10 sec, with Nepp József), 1991 “Prometheus” (2 min), 1992 "Pékség" (Bakery), "Benzinkút" (Gas Station), "Bútorüzem" (Furniture Factory), "A mi utcánk" (Our Street), "Feldolgozó üzem" (Processing Plant) (ads: 5 x 47 sec), 1994 "Karácsonyi dal" (Christmas Carol) (made-to-order film: 1.5 min), 1995 “Caola Ovenall” (ads: 3 x 48 sec), 1995 "Hozamjegy 5" (Bond Coupon 5) (ads: 2 x 25 sec), 1995 “Caola Ovenall” (ad: 25 sec), 1996 "Ének a csodaszarvasról" (Song of the Miraculous Hind) (96 min), 1999 - 2001 "Fekete párduc" (Black Panther) - logo (5 sec), 2007 "Az ember tragédiája" (The Tragedy of Man) (165 min), 1988 - 2011
"A walesi bárdok" (The Bards of Wales) - storyboard - 2008
"Az ember tragédiája" (The Tragedy of Man) 11th Scene: Oh, Fortuna! (28.5 min) - 2009
"Az ember tragédiája" (The Tragedy of Man) computer-animated feature film (155 min) - 2011 Gala premier on 27 November and 6 December, 2011, nationwide distribution in movies from 8 December, DVD and Bluray release the following year
"Az Árpádok emlékezete - III. Béla király" (The Memory of the Arpads: King Béla III) (18 - 20 min) - 2014
"Arcmás" (Imago) (5 min) - 2015
"Keresztesek Magyarországon (III. Béla király második rész)" (Crusaders in Hungary - Episode II of the film King Béla III) - 2016
State Awards and Medals
1974 - Béla Balázs Award
1978 - Kossuth Award
1982 - Youth Award
1984 - Artist of Merit
1988 - Tree of Life Award
1998 - Middle Cross of the Hungarian Republic
2013 - Middle Cross of the Hungarian Republic with the Star
2014 - Artist of the Nation
Orders and Rewards
1995 - Csillag Albert Memorial Reward
2000 - Honorary Citizen of district II of Budapest
2002 - Patria Award of the DUNA TV
2004 - For Hungarian Art Award
2007 - Árpád Memorial Award (Award of the Curators’ Office for Hungarian Art and the Herend Porcelain Manufactory)
2007 - Memorial Certificate for the 20th Anniversary of the Lakitelek Meeting
2007 - Prima Primissima Award
2008 - Honorary Citizen of district XII of Budapest
2008 - Commemorative Certificate and Plaque of the ’56 Foundation
2009 - Leonardo da Vinci Award of the World Cultural Council
2010 - Kölcsey Commemorative Plaque
2010 - Klingsor Oeuvre Award - Bratislava Animation Biennale Madách Imre Award (Award of Nógrád County)
2012 - Árpád' Shield Award
2013 - Hungarian Memorial Award (Award of the Hungarian Heritage and Europe Association)
2015 - Artists’ Award of the Book Salon of Győr
2015 - Saint Martin Award
Awards won at international film festivals:
1970 - Viennale, Diploma of Excellence
"Hídavatás" (Bridge Inauguration)
1970 - London Film Festival, among the best films of the year
1972 - Thessaloniki, Golden Nike Award
"Mélyvíz" (Deep Water)
1971 - Annecy, Diploma of Excellence
1971 - London Film Festival, among the best films of the year
"Álmok szárnyán" (On Wings of Dreams)
1972 - Beirut, Golden Cedar Grand Prize
"Az élet vize" (The Water of Life)
1973 - London Film Festival, among the best films of the year
"János vitéz" (John the Valiant)
1974 - London Film Festival, among the best films of the year
1974 - Zagreb Animated Film Festival, first Prize
1974 - London Film Festival, among the best films of the year
1975 - Tehran Film Festival for Children, Critics' Award, Child Jury Award
1975 - Hollywood, Academy Award - nomination
1975 - Oberhausen, Diploma of Excellence
2010 - Krakow, ASIFA 50 of 50. On the 50th anniversary of Asifa, it was named the 38th best movie out of 50 films in 50 years, Awarded by 50 critics
1977 - Cannes, Palme d'Or
1977 - Tehran, Critics' Award
1977 - Chicago, Silver Hugo Prize
1978 - Oberhausen, Grand Prize
1978 - Espinho, Grand Prize
1978 - London Film Festival, among the best films of the year
"Fehérlófia" (Son of the White Mare)
1984 - Los Angeles Animation Olympiad, among the best animations of all-time
"Add tovább, szamár a végállomás!" (Pass It On)
1989 - Lille Environmental Movie Festival, Best Animation
"A sámán Eurázsiában" (The Shaman in Eurasia)
1990 - Parnu, Estonia, Special Award
"Az ember tragédiája" (The Tragedy of Man)
28 October 2012 - Vilnius Tindirindis, Best Feature Film
10 November 2012 - Yerevan Jereváni Reanimania Festival, Feature Film Category Award
25 November 2012 - Los Angeles Hungarian Film Festival, Prize of the Consulate General
13 April 2013 - ANIRMAU 13, Lalín, Pontinas CC Y De Ocio Gadis Award
Prizes won at Hungarian film festivals:
1987 - Kőszeg, Individual Award
1988 - 2nd Kecskemét Animation Festival, Best Animator Award
"A sámán Eurázsiában" (The Shaman in Eurasia)
1989 - 29th Miskolc Short Film Festival, popular science film Prize
"Magyar Népmesék" (Hungarian Folk Tales)
1988 - 2nd Kecskemét Animation Festival, Best series Award
1996 - 4th Kecskemét Animation Festival, Best TV series Award
1981 - Award of Film and TV Reviewers
1982 - MTV Award for Excellence
2011 - Hungarian Heritage Award for Mikulás Ferenc and the Co-workers of Kecskemétfilm
2012 - Award of Film and TV Reviewers
"Mondák a magyar történelemből" (Legends from Hungarian History)
1993 - 3rd Kecskemét Animation Festival, Cultural History category winner
"Ének a csodaszarvasról" (Song of the Miraculous Hind)
2002 - 6th Kecskemét Animation Festival, Child Jury Award
"Egy jottányit sem! (Az ember tragédiája, VII. szín)" (Not an Inch! - The Tragedy of Man, 7th Scene)
2007 - 8th Kecskemét Animation Festival, Special Award
"Az ember tragédiája" (The Tragedy of Man)
2012 - Special Award of Hungarian Film Critics
2012 - Szolnok Art Festival, Grand Prize
2016 - Award for the Best Script, Fine Art Festival, Szolnok
Petőfi Museum of Literature - 1973
DOTE Gallery, Debrecen - 1982
Culture House, Dorog - 1982
Almássy Square Leisure Center, Budapest - 1983
Culture House, Celldömölk - 1984
Hungarian Institute, Rome - 1994
Barcsay School, Szentendre - 1995
Youth House, Nyíregyháza - 1996
Budapest Puppet Theater - 1997
Culture House, Békéscsaba - 2002
Erdei Ferenc Culture Center, Kecskemét - 2002
Hungarian Institute, Sofia - 2002
Vincze Gallery (St. Michael Chapel), Budapest - 2002
Gyöngyös - 2006
Tatabánya - 2007
Forrás Gallery, Budapest - 2009
Szombathely Gallery - 2010
Forrás Gallery (group exhibition, going on a tour of the Carpathian Basin) - 2010
Debrecen, Kölcsey Culture Center - 2010
Hungarian Institute, Bratislava - 2010
Forrás Gallery, Budapest - 2010
Pásztó - 2010
Kecskemét KAFF - 2011
Tihany - 2011
Szada - 2011
Forrás Gallery, Budapest - 2012
Székesfehérvár, Vörösmarty Theater - 2012
Budakalász, Village House - 2013
Sárvár, Nádasdy Castle, Library- 2013
Klebelsberg Cultural Center, Budapest – 2013
Szeklerland travelling exhibition (Gesta Hungarorum) 2013 – 14
Rome, Hungarian Institute (pictures from The Tragedy of Man) – 2013
Esztergom, Tárlak Gallery (Gesta Hungarorum) – 2014
Budapest, Várnegyed Gallery (Tragedy, Song of the Miraculous Hind) – 2014
Pécs, Total Art Gallery (pictures of the Bible film) – 2015
Chisinau (Song of the Miraculous Hind) – 2015
Orosháza (Hungarian Folk Tales, Legends from Hungarian History) – 2015
Milan, World Expo, Hungarian pavilion (Gesta Hungarorum) – 2015
What Do Myths Teach Us? Studies I to III, “Művészet” 1974/IV, V, VII The Animated Film (co-author). Cultural Education Propaganda Office, Bp., 1976.
Folk Tales and the Starry Sky. Study. In “Kapcsolatok”, Discussion paper. (edited by: Bak Imre, Zelnik József). Institute of Public Education, 1978
The Miracle Deer Legend on the Starry Sky. (Speech delivered at the MTA's Myth and History conference) In Preliminary Work on the Ethnography of Hungarians 3 (ed.: Hoppál Mihály - Istvánovits Márton.) MTA Ethnography Research Group, 1978 Exhibition - Animation Director Jankovics Marcell, Exhibition catalogue. Dorog Gallery, September 27-October 13, 1982. Animation Metamorphosis: Ethno-art. (directed by Furlán Ferenc; opening by Szemadám György). Dorog Gallery, Dorog, 1982
La cerva celeste e il tamburo cosmico. In Conoscienza religiosa 3 - 4. (Ed.: Elémire Zolla.) La Nuova Italia, Firenze, 1982.
Archaic Worldview on Siberian Shaman Drums, (English-language speech delivered at the International Shamanism Conference, Sárospatak, 1980) “Világosság”, 1983/XII.
Cosmic Models and Siberian Shaman Drums. In Shamanism in Eurasia. (Ed.: Mihály Hoppál). Edition Herodot, Göttingen, Germany, 1984
Eros and Heroe. (Speech delivered at the Eros in Folklore conference in Balatonalmádi , 1981.) In Eros in Folklore (ed.: Hoppál Mihály - Szepes Erika), Szépirodalmi Publishing House, 1987
Signs and Symbols, A series of Articles. In “Élet és tudomány” 1984 - 1986 "A Shining Star among The Stars"- The Legend of St. Ladislaus and the Starry Sky. Képzőművészeti Publishing House, 1987 Symbol Calendar. Medicina Publishing House, 1988
Ghost ships - Soul Ships. Study. In Művészet, 1989/V “Balázs”, (co-author.) Helikon Publishing House, 1989 Symbol Gallery. Co-authors: Hoppál Mihály, Nagy András, Szemadám György. Helikon Publishing House, Bp., 1990 The Mythology of the Tree. Csokonai Publishing House, Debrecen, 1991 Exhibition of Jankovics Marcell Kossuth Award winner animation director, Barcsay School Gallery Kalendart Publishing House, Szeged, 1994
Stars of “Árgirus” (lecture in the literature history conference in 1992) In “Hitel”, 1995/IX
How has the Panther become Pink? - symbolism of a flower color (English language lecture in the international conference “Symbols”, Szeged, 1993) Conference leaflet of the Szeged University in “The Well of Past is Deeper than Deep…" Thoughts about Culture Csokonai Publishing House, Debrecen, 1998
“Kááár!” - The Symbolism of Sounds - phonetics and myth (lecture in the conference of the Sociology Institute about Symbolism, 1994) In Our life is a Sign Language - Roots of the Research of the History and Roots of Symbolism (Editor: Kapitány Ágnes - Kapitány Gábor) “Osiris - Századvég” Publishing House, 1995
Obsessive Acts and Free Will - Religion and Compulsion (lecture in the Conference of Obsessive-Compulsive Illnesses) Lillafüred, 1994)
Where no Bird Goes, Pontifex Publishing House, Bp., 1996 Where no bird Goes - Seven Studies from Seventeen years, Pontifex Publishing House, Bp., 1996 The Book of the Sun, Csokonai Publishing House, Debrecen, 1996 Calendar of Symbols, reviewed and extended version, Csokonai Publishing House, Debrecen, 1997
Zodiac - Symbolism of Seasons, Series of Studies, In “Sine Morbo”, 1997 - 2003
Fauna in “Pasarét”; Seasons of Hungarian Painters, In “Sine Morbo”, 2005 - 2011 “The Well of Past is Deeper than Deep…” - Thoughts about Culture, Csokonai Publishing House, Debrecen, 1998
The Three Stages of Culture, (lecture in the conference “Hungarian Culture of the Millennium” at the MVSZ Organization of the Capital and the Saint Ladislaus Academy, Püski Publishing House, 1999.
Preserving Cultural Attributes like the Basic Question of European Integration, (lecture on integration as the guardian of built heritage), Leaflet, Tusnádfürdő, 2000
What Makes Tales into Children Stories? - Family therapies based on tale-telling, (lecture on the Family Therapy conference) Leaflet, Budapest, 2001
Book of the Sun. (English version of “A Nap könyve” ) Center for Hungarian Studies and Publications Inc., New Jersey - Csokonai Publishing House, Debrecen, 2000
Gérecz Attila, the Hero, Introductory In “Sorsod művészete” - Gérecz Attila’s Poems and Afterlife, Stádium Publishing House, 2001 Song about the Miraculous Hind, Picture Story Book for Children, Csokonai Publishing House, Debrecen, 2001
Symbolism of Seasons: about the three musketeers, and the fourth one, study
In “Mir - susne - xum” - Study in respect of Hoppál Mihály (editor: Csonka - Takács Eszter - Czövek Judit - Takács András.) Akadémia Publishing House, Bp, 2002
The Animation Movie Maker, Study on Réber László’s Animation Movies, In “Réber Holnap” Publishing House, 2003, English Version in 2004
The House of Tales and the Eco Tradition, In “Ökotáj”, December 2003, 31 - 32 (see on the website of Hungarian Culture Foundation)
Art and Morality, In “Mester és tanítvány I” 2004/I [Quarterly]
“The Bear Descended from the Sky” In “Vadon”, February 2004 Collection of Symbols, co-authors: Hoppál Mihály, Nagy András, Szemadám György, 7th publication, extended and reviewed with new pictures, Helikon Publishing House, 2004 The Horse in the Hungarian Mythical Tradition, in “Lovas nemzet”: Several Hundred Years friendship between Hungarians and Horses (editor: Hecker Walter, Karádi Ilona), co-authors: Győrffy - Villám András, Szelestey László. Helikon Publishing House, Bp., 2004 Book of the Deer, Csokonai Publishing House, 2004 “I have been a believer since my Mother’s Womb " - conversation of Jankovics Marcell and Kovács Zsolt
Why do I believe? Pocket book series, Kairosz Publishing House, 2005 Shakespeare’s Muses: Girls and Women in Shakespearian Dramas, foreword, Méry Ratio, Somorja, 2005
About the Situation of Hungarian Culture and its Consequences (see on the website of Hungarian Culture Foundation), Hermina Salon, Bp., Digitalized publishing of his books: The Mythology of Tree, The Book of the Sun, Where no Bird Goes, Calendar of Symbols, “The Well of History is Deeper than Deep…, in the Neumann János Digital Library, 2005
Rebirth of Shamanism (book recension by volumes of Hoppál Mihály: Shamans in Eurasia and Jeremy Narby - Francis Huxley: Shamans) New Book Market, 2006 February “Shiny Star among Stars” - The Saint Ladislaus Legend and the Starry Sky, with the photos of Méry Gábor, reviewed volume II, Méry Ratio, Somorja, 2006 It is Good to be a Hungarian, New Horizon Foundation, Veszprém, 2006, 3-5 min
“Turning it out and in” (Conference of Tradition - lecture, 2003) New Horizon, 2006/3 September/3
Triptychs in the Saint Jacob Church in Lőcse, with the photos of Méry Gábor, Méry Ratio, Somorja, 2007
Moving Ornaments (edited version of the lecture in the conference of Ernst Museum in 2006, Ornaments and Modernism, Ernst Museum Leaflets 2, Ernst Museum, Bp., 2007
Polarity - Two-faced Reality, in Over Worlds, (study based on Lőrincz Gabriella’s TV series) Pilis - Print Publishing House, Pilisvörösvár, 2007
Our Mother, Boldogasszony, The Hungarian Maria - cult, “Napút”, 2007/6 http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:_Pw-eLcb_IAJ:www.napkut.hu/naput_2007/2007_06/047.htm+&cd=1&hl=hu&ct=clnk&gl=hu “Lékiratok”. Helikon, Bp., 2007
“Shoemakers should stay at the Last” In Border - Balk - for the 70th birthday of Pethő Bertalan (31 October 2005) Platon Publishing House, Bp., 2007. The Saint Elizabeth Dome in Kassa, with the photos of Méry Gábor, Méry Ratio, Somorja, 2008
“They were not Antlers but Wing”, study (in the folklore conference: Folklore and Visual Culture, 1-2 December 2005), In: Folklore and Visual Culture. (editor: Szemerkényi Ágnes) Akadémia Publishing House, Bp. 2007 2007. https://sites.google.com/site/jankovicsmarcell/irasaim/nem-agancsok-voltak
Bridge – About the Crisis of Culture (lecture in the Benedictine World Meeting, Pannonhalma, May 2008 31.) http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:osNldRMbJdQJ:www.irodalmilaminnet/%3Fq%3Dcikk/hid-0+&cd=1&hl=hu&ct=clnk&gl=hu 3+1 – The Symbolism of the Four Seasons, Csokonai Publishing House, Debrecen, 2008
Answer to a Survey, In “Hungary, my way or the highway” , (editor: Hankiss Elemér - Heltai Péter) Mediaworld Ltd., Remeteszőlős, 2008
Wish, Intelligence and Memory, In “Kiáltás” (editor: Mészáros László - Szőts Géza) series “3rd Millennium”, “Kecskeméti Lapok”, November 2008
National Cultural Strategy, In National Cultural Strategy, Püski, 2008
“The Apple Rots from the Core”, In Searching for BaronMünnchausen, (editor: Hankiss Elemér - Heltai Péter.) Mediaworld Ltd., Remeteszőlős, February 2009
The Principle of Preserving Hungary, In New Settlement, (editor: Mészáros László - Szőcs Géza), series “3rd Millennium”. Kecskemét Newspaper, April 2009
“Jesse’s Holy Root Became a Strong Tree” - what the Gyöngyöspata Jesse’s Tree Altar Talks about. “Káva Téka, Napút” Leaflets 33, May 2009 The Saint Egyed Cathedral in Bártfa, with the photos of Méry Gábor, Méry Ratio Publishing House, Somorja, 2009 The Saint Martin Cathedral in Szepeshely, with the photos of Méry Gábor, Méry Ratio Publishing House, Somorja, 2010 The Saint György Church in Szepesszombat, with the photos of Méry Gábor, Méry Ratio Publishing House, Somorja, 2011
Let there be Light! In “Mountain and Sky Blends”, Celebration Volume for the 70th Birthday of Korzenszky Richárd, Tihany, Saint Gregory Foundation, Tihany, 2011
The Mysterious Island, “Ambroozia.hu”, 2011/1 Tale, Film and Dream I - II, Csokonai Publishing House, Debrecen, 2013 The Saint Nicolaus Church in Bakabánya, with the photos of Méry Gábor, Méry Ratio Publishing House, Somorja, 2012 The Saint Cross Basilica in Késmárk, with the photos of Méry Gábor, Méry Ratio Publishing House, Somorja, 2013 St. Elisabeth's Cathedral, Košice. [translated by Orsolya Frank]. Méry Ratio, Somorja, 2013 St. George's Church, Spišská Sobota. [translated by Orsolya Frank]. Méry Ratio, Somorja, 2013 St. Giles' Cathedral, Bardejov. [translated by Orsolya Frank] Méry Ratio, Somorja, 2013 St. James's Church, Levoča. [translated by Orsolya Frank]. Méry Ratio, Somorja, 2013 St. Martin's Cathedral, Spišská Kapitula. [translated by Orsolya Frank] Méry Ratio, Somorja, 2013 Bazilika svätého Egídia v Bardejove. [prekl. Angelika Šrámková]. Méry Ratio, Somorja, 2013 Chrám svätého Jakuba v Levoči. [prel. Angelika Šrámková] Méry Ratio, Somorja, 2013 Dóm svätej Alžbety v Košiciach. [prel. Angelika Šrámková]. Méry Ratio, Somorja, 2013 Katedrála svätého Martina v Spišskej Kapitule. [prekl. Angelika Šrámková]. Méry Ratio, Somorja, 2013 Kostol svätého Juraja v Spišskej Sobote. [prel. Angelika Šrámková]. Méry Ratio, Somorja, 2013
Cseh Tamás: Graphic Works, foreword: Jankovics Marcell. (selected by Balás Eszter, Jankovics Marcell and Mihály Gábor) Méry Ratio, Somorja, 2014 “Lékiratok”, Helikon, Bp., 2014 The Virgin Mary Church in Szmrecsány, Méry Ratio, Somorja, 2014 Picture Stories from the Bible: a Picture Book of an Unfinished Movie Akadémiai Publishing House – Hungarian National Digital Archives and Film Institute, 2015 The Saint John the Baptist Church in Kisszeben, Méry Ratio, Somorja, 2015 About Visual Education, Akadémiai Publishing House, 2015
The Saint Ann Church in Nagyőr, with the photos of Méry Gábor, Méry Ratio Publishing House, Budapest - Somorja, 2016 Bookweek
The Effects of Television on the Masses, published in MMA Media-Strategy, 2017
The Saint Martin Church in Héthárs, with the photos of Méry Gábor, Méry Ratio Publishing House, Budapest - Somorja, 2017 Bookweek
For the Respect of Saint Ladislaus, in New Hungarian Art, 2017
Animation in Penumbra, written to the catalogue with the same title to the Exhibition of the Hall of Art, 2017
Lover of Hungarian Castles - Müller János’ photos from around 1910, foreword, Méry Ratio Publishing House. Budapest - Somorja, 2017
Toldi in Animation Movie, Hungarian Art, 2018
The Saint Catherine Church in Kakaslomnic, with the photos of Méry Gábor, Méry Ratio Publishing House. Budapest - Somorja, 2018 Bookweek
Mirtse Zsuzsanna: Overview of Jankovics Marcell’s career
Jankovics Marcell as a film director is an emblematic figure of the Hungarian animation. Besides film making he achieved outstanding results in several different areas: he is a culture historian, author of books on public education, an illustrator and his name and works are well known in TV program making. His life career has become a determinative part of Hungarian Culture.
He has always created in the name of holistic way of thinking; he has always worked following the principles of “preservation and creation”. In his case individualism, the need to travel his own path and the respect of traditions are in a unity, they complement and strengthen each other. Jankovics Marcell is the type of artist, who looks for permanence behind improvement and continuous change. At the same time, he is an experimenting type, who likes to utilize the prevailing technical possibilities “…accept the order and law of the world, learn to live with them, but never rebel against them as it is hopeless” - he wrote in the Book of the Sun. This statement might well be the summary of his life.
He wanted to be an architect - but because of his disadvantageous political record, it never came true, but consciousness, thoughtful design and editing and precision shines through in whichever art form he touches.
Animation was the first field where he could prove himself. It was a predetermined career, because of his childhood experiences he learnt how to adapt, how to adjust to limitations and how to use possibilities and through those experiencing his own inner freedom. According to his needs he expanded this basically entertaining art form and filled it with new meaning. In animation (just like in poetry) he regards briefing and compression a determinative principle, and the role of inside landscapes and dreams became more and more important in his works.
The talented young animator who had an individual visual view soon got a possibility to try his talent: in the first period of his career, in the beginning of the 1960s, he made advertisements, and then he became the director and figure designer of the series “Gusztáv”. He looked at the series as a professional training, but he did not feel a mental relation towards this work. He did not like the episodes that made fun of the fallibilities of the everyday figure, it insulted his social sensitivity. Although he could show his sense of humor, this role was too narrow - minded for him, he was not inspired by it - he wished for deeper, more meaningful tasks.
He wanted to get rid of the obligatory gags and animation topics that were regulated by the expectations of the era. During his entire career his artistic attitude was to pursue usefulness: spreading knowledge (description of our cultural treasures and our history for the wider public), to strengthen Hungarian identity and to build up a healthy picture of community that is free from distortions and extremities.
During the production of the first series he already got possibilities to create his own films (Karinthy Ferenc: “Szilveszteri legenda” (Legend at New Years’ Eve, 1965), he could try different genres. In 1967 he made the short movie “Tendenciák” (Tendencies) which is an animation vision about the future of mankind built on collage elements and line metamorphosis. This movie was a stage towards finding his own voice; however, it is very interesting as it preserves a great deal of information about the era of hand - drawn animation.
In 1968 as a professional breakthrough he made his advertisement titled “Álmok szárnyán” (Flying on Dreams), that won a Golden Cedar Award in Beirut in 1970. He made this short movie at the order of Air India. He painted with acrylic to celluloid, but as an end result he did not wish to give an impression of oil paint but wanted to create light, aquarelle effects. In this film he already used the technique of animation metamorphosis, which is based on a free but logical and intelligent row of associative frames. As the language of animation, he improved and used Eisenstein’s attraction montage theory i.e. 1 + 1 = 3 so “two pictures/ideas create a third one” and he uses animation metamorphosis instead of film cuts.
This technique becomes his trademark, and it is significantly present in his full - length animation movies. Besides rhythm the associations, visual ideas and thoughts build on each other and give the dynamics and the distinctive characteristics of his movies. A sign of his style and a basis for deeper meaning is the picture dialogue that is based on archetypical pictures and cultural references, the use of culture historic “visual quotes”. The frames of the advertisement are of high aesthetic quality on their own, and the interlocking forms add new and new layers of meaning. “Everything can be turned into everything, but not all of them make sense” - he stated, so he intentionally avoided the superficial, self - serving ideas the transformations stuck on the level of mere witticism.
In 1968 he made “Hídavatás” (Bridge Inauguration), his first successful Awarded unique animation movie that was not an advertisement. This was the first time when he had used color dramaturgy to heighten emotional effects. The script wasn’t written by him that might be felt in the film but technically it turned out to be an outstanding animation movie. His sense of gags is present in the movie. Moreover the problems of aggression and manipulation of masses can also be felt.
Then, in 1970 he made his first black and white film, “Mélyvíz” (Deep Water). The dramatic effect is strengthened by visual effects reminiscent of linocuts and lithography. He composes his films’ structure as well. After the rising sequence there is the dramatic climax - over the half time of the film, even a little bit over the golden section - then there is the gentle falloff, similarly to a curve of love. In the film Deep Water he breaks the human face into geometric forms through animation metamorphosis, and then those forms turn into lines, they decompose, to show irreversible decay. The main character shouts for help, but this cry hits callous, deaf ears. The sound is Jankovics Marcell’s. He visually enhances the scene with a paradox twist - the entire scene takes part in the labyrinth of an enormous ear.
In 1971 he makes a film that addresses the problems of alienation and indifference, titled “Mással beszélnek” (The Line is busy). This is an object animation movie, (actually his only movie that was made with this technique), that counts as a documentation of the era in the pathetically underdeveloped, intentionally suppressed country in the age of bugged telephones: the phone talks with itself in its last desperation. In the same year (1971) he also makes a gag movie titled “Az élet vize” (Water of life).
“János Vitéz” (1973) (John the Valiant)
His first real success (both from the part of professionals and audience) comes with his full-length animation movie János, the Valiant (1973). This animation movie is unique from the perspective of film history: the first full-length Hungarian animation movie.
The message of the movie is clear (faith in loyalty over earthly existence and in never ending love and justice) and made the movie attractive by its purport; at the same time the decorative, bright and colorful pictures, the constantly changing scenes the movements and the lively, passionate scenes enchanted both children and adult viewers. Professionally the film was also appreciated because of its new way of depiction and directorial professionalism, but for a long time they did not know how to evaluate the movie in a socialist environment - so the film received contradictory reviews. In his full - length movies and illustrations Jankovics Marcell often uses briefing - as if he wanted to compress every association that comes to his mind about a movement into the pictures. More experience, the likeliness to observe the world and better education result in more associations: fantasy can go further in space and time. These associations are not independent from each other; they are interlocking, building up a unity and the colorful pieces of glass turn into a comprehensible, fulfilled picture organized by a central force.
The director builds on an archaic analogical way of thinking which lurks at the bottom of human conscience and melts these deeply hidden pictures, the pillars of the human soul into a unity independently from cultures and eras. Tulip and heart complete each other just like the pigeon couple’s circle resembles the drawings of Yin and Yang (these are the symbols of the Hungarian folk art and the Chinese universalism held together by pentatonic music, as well). These symbols are compatible with each other in the film. The ostensible eclectic style is the result of the signs of the universal principle that organizes he world and that shows itself differently in different cultures. This various images are held together by the integrated style of drawing and way of thinking. The directorial solutions are innovative and unique, the visual sight is impressive. It does not imitate anything; it uses sources and thinks them further. He creates like a river that accepts brooks and streams, but knows its way and does not change its course, unstoppably flows towards the greatest water, towards unity.
Jankovics is attracted to positive heroes who can set examples and it is easy to identify with Petőfi’s hero. The director could use his respect for traditions which he received as a family inheritance, and the patriotic topic is close to him, as well. He could build the “house” on this structure, while the bricks are education, magical fantasy world, creative experimenting as well as his deep knowledge about symbols and his research in the fields of folklore. At the same time he allows for a healthy and sometimes erotic humor that springs up in the most hopeless situations.
The golden era of the topic can be related to Kacsóh Pongrácz and his operetta. This was the period of Hungarian Secession (Art Nouveau) using Hungarian folk art as a source. Jankovics does not use the songs of operetta, but he has strong relation to the Hungarian Secession (Gödöllő School, Lechner Ödön). He feels (maybe in a spontaneous way) that in in the deep layers of the original text of a mythical, an ancient structure is hidden. The ascension stages of the main character with misfortune, the harder and harder tests, the vertical way of wandering (from the earth to the skies) are symbols of human cognition. In culture history Knight János’ mates went through the same hardships to improve: like Faust and Adam.
In “John the Valiant”, moreover the whole oeuvre and the full-length movies, Jankovics uses an expressive, vision-like visual approach, an inner journey in dreams, in the subconscious and in the deepest layers of the human psyche. He does not analyze individual cases, as he is not interested in the people of the mass the grey everydays and earthly things but in heroes, ordeals, the Way, the superhuman fights, the battle of light and darkness, the mission, loyalty and commitment and trials. Light has to win over Darkness, the (Sun)hero cannot lose - even if the win continues on in the upper world above the earth, into the world of ideas. At the same time he reminds us that “the bad” is immortal, it can be inactive for a while but again and again it will raise its head and attack. This fight comes from eternity and stays eternal. The fight starts on Earth and finishes in the upper world. All these do not take him to the path of narrow - minded idealism, to the world of the mirages of fake illusions. He knows well that the hero suffers irreversible losses, he has to leave behind his own human body or his lover and the white-golden land of fairies is a symbol: the possibility of relief.
The folkloristic nature of Jankovics’ motives offers home-feeling and hope to the viewers, a kind of support. In the 1970s he turned to folklore culture politics did not ban, moreover they were likely to give Awards to artists with this kind of approach - of course under strict control and with hard limitations.
The “John the Valiant” used the techniques of the “Yellow Submarine”. Heinz Edelmann’s pop-art appears, but the “visualization from the down perspective” receives new ideology and artistic conception: János walks the ground (physically) as the home ground means safety but his head (mental area) is up to the skies. It is a nice conception of being tied to the ground but longing for a higher level, immaterial world, for the world of ideas - this is a beautiful graphic concept of building from the bottom up Also a possibility to show and celebrate heroism - Jankovics Marcell already had an inclination for it.
He bravely uses the tools of animation metamorphosis: the film is full of logically interlocking row of pictures. A very important motif is the “szűr” (a kind of thick and long cape - like coat for shepherds) that signs the hero’s place in society and serves as his companion when he starts his journey. When he becomes a hussar this hard and heavy “szűr” turns into an almost flying “mente” (coat for the Hungarian hussars that time) then into wings and the hero can fly freely.
He uses the method of stylization so he gives up a lot of things - like the facial gestures. In the absence of facial gestures, he depicts emotions in pictures: the mask - like faces receive emotions with a heart (blushing), a rose (burning in love) or a tear drop When János is happy the colors become cheerful and vivid around him, when he is sad, his environment gets depressed as well. Objects are alive, they move with him.
Iluska (János’ sweetheart) is almost puppet-like, she doesn’t grow old. Iluska’s legs are fatty like a baby’s legs - as they know each other since their childhood - and in love time stops. The Sun and the Moon are attached to the lovers, but the knight is to the witch and to the figures of darkness. Constant graphic attributes are important: the rose of love on János’ chest symbolizes loyalty, his upwards curving moustache illustrates the nose too, and his magical “world wandering” boots. These attributes make the hero recognizable within his constant changes.
Jankovics recognizes something when creating this film that determines his later views. In the scenes of the fairy land there are hearts on János’ wings and there are tulips on Iluska’s and these symbols complete each other. This is his first meeting with folk culture. They became closer with folklore researcher Hoppál Mihály the folklore scientist who analyzed these scenes from an ethno semiotic point of view in his study “Tulip and heart - symbols of love in Hungarian folklore” (1990).
In this movie consequent color dramaturgy receives an outstanding role. In the original habits of animation, the colors of the characters are always the same. But in this movie, the main character has several color varieties, according to his situation and emotions - so the background and the characters can resonate together as the background changes its colors too. The colors are symbolic, they have a mood describing role, and Jankovics Marcell is a master in creating different atmospheres.
With “John the Valiant” he could get rid of the animation clichés, the expectations of the era and the wry humor. In 1974 Jankovics Marcell made the short movie “Sisyphus” (Sisyphus) regarded to be his best creation by many. This film is a self-confession that is expressed by a mythological hero. One momentum, one message, brief thoughtfulness. The film is made with minimalist technique. Jankovics draws 1800 drawings in 6 weeks helped by only one drawer. The several minute long movie is an enormous success. Like in most of his movies the main character is faceless, it not the individual who is important but the common, the generalized.
An important point is that different (acoustic-visual) effects strengthen each other, change together. He plays with the thickening and the thinning of the brush strokes. When the figure experts force and inhales, he uses thicker lines and at the wheezy exhalation thinner ones. The body mass of the hero is decreasing, he consumes up his own body to finish the heroic act - by the end of the movie the original muscle colossus turns into a tiny, sign-like image. This epigram - like short creation is one of the most beautiful examples in animation film history for the excruciating battle as an artist, human existence in general.
The 1974 short film “Add tovább, szamár a végállomás” (Pass it on!) is about the infectious aggression and the typical behavior of frustrated everyday people. He paints this movie with a soft pen that draws directly on the celluloid and can be smudged by fingertips. It is very hard to identify with this movie (as there is no hero, no handle), it just shows, points out, describes a phenomenon. The music composer of the film is Jankovics. too, He builds up the acoustics of electronic effects.
After this movie the director does not come up with individual films, but he works. (The second series of “Gusztáv” comes out), He writes the study Myth and worldview, the theoretical basis of his later full-length movie the “Fehérlófia” (Son of the White Mare), and his public educational books.
In 1977 he makes the short film “Küzdők” (The wrestlers) with what he wins the Golden Palm Award in Cannes. The movie is a parable about the self-destructive habitus of artistic existence, the sense of mission that prioritizes creation to life. At the same time the allegory of the sculpture that carves the sculptor can be an allegory of the relationship between parent and child: the aging, shading life gives place to a new, continuously strengthening young life. He draws this movie with fingers too: he scratches, smudges with his fingertips, wipes out, experiments, tries out all the unusual possibilities of this technique. There is no music, the strong vocal atmosphere is created by realistic noises.
Those times people expected and “end” a punchline at the end of short movies. Jankovics does not want to meet these expectations. He makes his film Deep water without a closure and this version becomes successful. In the case of Sisyphus he is free to end the movies without a punchline referring to the earlier films’ success.
The three black and white short movies (Deep water, Sisyphus and Wrestlers) can be seen as a kind of triptych, the topics are coded in mythological allegories. His intention with his irregular, “denudate”, unique short movies is to provide a catharsis, to shock, to make people think. The artistic habitus is pensive, thoughtful and self-torturing. These films bring professional successes, but he is attracted to heroic tasks: full-length movies, for which he has to work and fight for years.
“Magyar népmesék” (Hungarian folk tales)
In 1977 Jankovics starts the series “Magyar népmesék” (Hungarian folk tales), which he works on until 2002 as a script writer, as a director and as a designer. The series - just like “John the Valiant” - feeds on Hungarian visual traditions and way of thinking. Concentricity and constant returning is the basis that determines the films visually. Tales take place in dreams, in a world that is out of existing time, still they are parts of reality.
The series was the idea of Mikulás Ferenc from Kecskemét. Jankovics is asked to create this series after the success of “John the Valiant”. He works out the conception: a title is needed that generates interest, and in every tale they have to use the motifs that are typical of the region where the tale comes from. Composition is an important viewpoint as well as the usage of the mythical and symbolic structure of Hungarian folk art. One empathic momentum is travelling (the aim of the travelling is to find the female, and the journey takes place in a symbolic space).
In the first series the design of the figures and the script are designed by Jankovics Marcell as well as in the third and fifth ones. In the second and fourth he is “only” a senior director, but he is called back again and again, and he has always been regarded the “spiritual father” of the series.
“Fehérlófia” (Son of the White Mare)
In 1981 Jankovics’ second full-length movie the “Fehérlófia” (Son of the White Mare) is introduced, that brings international recognition (wins the Award of The best Animation Movie of All Times). The making of the movie and artistic achievement is preceded by several years of research. He gives lectures and writes educational materials about the archaic worldview, the connection between the folk tales and the starry sky.
Jankovics looked for an own tale, an own story; something that is based on eternal circulation and cyclicality. This idea was refused as an ideologically faulty conception, as it was in contradiction with the official worldview that believed in development and wanted to popularize that. He was advised to give in three original folk tales - and the “Son of the White Mare” was accepted. Of course the cyclical worldview became a determinative idea in the film. Jankovics used circled fahrts and curved fahrts, everything served the importance of circulation and constant returning.
The director used the Hun, Avar and Hungarian legends and totemic faith as a basis and built up the movie on archetypical pictures, symbols and stylized “collection of signs). The analogues (numbers and colors) are outstandingly important; they are present in all levels. The three boys “wear” the three stages of the Sun, the rising Sun (green) is linked to “Vasgyúró”, the midday Sun (yellow) to “Fanyűvő” and the Sunset (red) to “Kőmorzsoló”. The same conception prevails in the case of the three princesses and the dragons.
The upper and the lower worlds are each other’s mirror images, but they are organically linked. The animation metamorphosis is archaic rows of signs - a nice example for that is the scene of birth.
Color dramaturgy is outstandingly important in this movie: the artist painted the pages of the picture script in colored aquarelle. A cyclical changing of red - yellow - blue - lilac is present all over the film. Dream-like scenes are also very important; the adult characters talk like telling a lullaby. Earlier it was a standpoint that the figures on the celluloid stand out from the background; here unity was much more important. The high level aesthetic backgrounds praise their painter’s Hegedűs László’s work.
The reactions to Hungarian premiere were not even close to “John the Valiant”. “John the Valiant” was a fast pace, eventful movie. The “Son of the White Mare” is a slowly rolling film, and this pace as well as the repetitions that were needed because of its structure was unusual for the viewers. The reason for the lack of success can be looked for in its marketing, but also in the fact that the viewers after long years of central brainwashing were not mature enough to understand such a professional performance. Several decades later the movie found its place in the hearts of the Hungarian viewers.
“After the “Fehérlófia” (Son of the White Mare)
After the “Son of the White Mare” Jankovics did not receive work in his studio so he starts to attach to Kecskemét city: the “Hungarian folk tales” series continues and a new series is tarted titled “Mondák a magyar történelemből” (Legends from Hungarian history). The latter is different from the folk tale series as it is built on the world of the “Képes Krónika” (Chronicun Pictum) with historic musical sources (Gregorian music and old students’ songs) and its main aim is historic education. Jankovics uses this series later to create a television series, with Csonka Erzsébet as the editor of the program.
A four episode short series is made under the title “Tangram” but it does not create much interest. It is based on the intelligent developing Chinese game for children, with black geometric pieces. Jankovics made his film by moving these geometric pieces in collage style. The four episodes follow a concept: they take place in the worlds of water, air, land and humans. At the same time for American order he made seven picture scripts and uncountable figure designs for the “Bible” series, but only one episode was finished: the Creation.
As a contrast to “Sisyphus” (before the “Tragedy) another short film “Prometheus” is born (1992). The mythological hero receives fire on the mountain, as the symbol of youth, but by the time he descends from the mountain there is only a little piece of ember in his hands instead of the torch - as the light slowly gets weaker, he wastes away, too. This art piece is the allegory of aging - it was not as successful as “Sisyphus” maybe because of the depressing topic, maybe because it can be felt that the artist couldn’t associate with resignation, remittal and losing strength.
“Ének a csodaszarvasról” (Song about the Miraculous Hind)
His next full-length movie is the “Song about the Miraculous Hind” (2002). He makes the movie upon the request of Szörényi Levente. He decides to work out the Hungarian ancient myth, from astralmythological point of view. The basis of the movie is a study that he writes about the four jugs of the “Nagyszentmiklós” treasure that are decorated with medallions. These four medallions can symbolize the four seasons at the same time they excellently visualize the eternal circulation because of their forms. On the other hand, the pictures on the medallions represent four historic eras. These jugs with their four meanings serve as the basis of the film. The four episodes are unfolding the stories hidden in the jugs; like the artist lets the djinn out of the bottle. The philosophical form is mirroring up and down, meaning that the happenings of earthly life have archaic-mythical-cosmic roots. By the visualization the realistic events turn into symbolic pictures, the real animals into mythical ancestors - and vice versa. The animation metamorphosis is an organizational principle: the spheres: earthly and cosmic, present and the mythical, physical and spiritual continuously turn and fade into each other. Many criticized the movie because of its didactic nature, the wish for education, the form of a picture history book; others regard it a useful art piece precisely for those reasons.
Az ember tragédiája” (The Tragedy of Man)
This monumental artistic work that took decades to make is the spiritual product of opposing the extinction of human kind and death overall. Jankovics Marcell regards this drama current and timely, discovers parallels between Madách’s era and the present day Hungary, when we can witness the reviving of wild capitalism. We have to face the same problems again and again (demagogue populism, upside down democracy, social insensibility, moral crisis of public and private life, departure between ideals and reality). In the abridged version of the original drama he tried to maintain the proportions by Madách’s conception, but he concentrates on the historic scenes not the frame story. During the incredibly long procedure of making (the 160 minute animation movie was made for 23 years) the differences copy from the development of animation techniques couldn’t be eliminated. The artist wished to turn the strongly philosophical and ornamented text more comprehensible. Jankovics Marcell is an intellectual artist, so the inner monologues, lines of thoughts became more emphasized in the text. Pathetic and satiric tones are not far from him, and the film does not lack humor (e.g. in the London scene Eve appears almost as Lolita), moreover erotica is a part of the art piece, too (Roman scene), because these elements are parts of human life.
As for colors the artist considered the visual memories and styles of the eras. He also found the symbols of tarot cards as a source of inspiration. The representative of darkness, Lucifer based on the mythical traditions always appears with a dog-like face - this animal is a forever escort of humans, although Lucifer is not only an escort but a tempter, too.
Backgrounds and figures return from scene to scene, with changed appearances, but with recognizable attributes. The backgrounds and figures evoke the spirit of the historic eras, as the artist used them in the most typical historic style. The Egyptian flat side view description, the Greek vase figures, the Roman mosaic, the Byzantine icons, the codex miniatures, copper engraving and the reproduced graphics, moreover the world of comics (in the phalanstery scene) all come to life in the film. These give the basis, the “trampoline” for the content. The ideas unfold in the style of the given era; behind the pictures we can experience the inner logic or inconsequence of the era, the attitude towards “justice” and morality that forms history. The historic objects of the eras (Greek vases, Roman sculptures, copper engravings from the time of Copernicus) come to life, in the Paris scene the mass waves in tricolor. Again the animation metamorphosis is a basic tool.
The London scene is the bravest, the artist uses the text in the most liberated way, and it may be the reason that this is the best part of the film. It is full of “peeping out”, present day analogues, and unrelated micro stories. He does not just illustrate, but becomes a real co-author with his personal visions and takes further the ideas of the original text. Altogether with every fair - and biasedly unfair - critique, this movie is a worthy tribute of the original drama and of human culture history.
His Career at Television
In the end of the 1980s he started to work in a new area (TV and program making). These television broadcasts are in the best sense of the word public educational and informative programs. Their conception fits into his oeuvre. In 1988-1989 he regularly made public educational programs as a script writer, as a reporter and as a director. He shot 440 television programs with his co-workers. Thematic films were made; they tried to work out those topics, which Jankovics writes in his books as well about mythology, our folklore traditions, Christian symbolism, astrology (zodiacs), legends and history. The artist draws attention to the significance of cyclical approach towards time. “Cyclical” time approach is typical of the farming societies, while “linear” time approach is a time concept that fits the “modern humans” routine.
The latter approach can easily bring a denial of traditions and the past, as it enhances living for the moment, the “one-time events”, that makes generalization impossible. From this concept a kind of eternal present time emerges, the frame of which is a second reality, the world of television and its calendar the TV program magazine. Recognizing cyclical time, the moving of planets and stars lead people to plan and - like archaic humans - feel themselves to be a part of the Cosmos. Jankovics Marcell finds it important to make people recognize that it is an ancient thing to think by the stars, people should observe the changes of nature and attach them to the moving of planets. The original way of human thinking was naturally “mythopoetic”, as there they did not have any collection of scientific terms. This several thousand or (more ten thousand) year old way of thinking still exists in tribal cultures and in farming societies. The ancient human “wrote” the moments of celebration on the sky: among the space, the Milky Way, the constellation of stars they cast the roles among visible planets (gods). They tried to serve the gods’ will like this: “in earth, as it is in heaven”. This system was present in every aspect of life: what they read from the stars, they saw on the altar decorations, heard in language terms and in the objects of celebrations. Jankovics Marcell believes that historic facts and knowing mythology is equally important, people need to be reminded to them again and again. The programs (if there was budget for that) made more colorful by local shots, as the text can be more comprehensible on the given location, among different objects.
The “Legends and History” was a significant historic series, as well, but different programs were made related to Christmas, Easter and Pentecost, namely about their astronomical symbolism and the related folk traditions. Jankovics writes about the “holy times” in several books.
As cooperation with Hoppál Mihály, they make a half documentary - half animation film titled “Sámánok Eurázsiában” (Shamans in Eurasia). They shoot the film in original locations and introduce objects we inherited from shamanism, at the same time they point out the attributes of that worldview by animation and using a symbolic language.
Author of Educational Books
Jankovics Marcell’s educational books deserve their own “bookshelf”. Regarding his educational books he follows his basic conception that his activities in different fields - books, films and lectures” must organically link to each other. He does not approach the topic from a usual folklore researcher attitude, but as an author. He does not only organize the materials but using a thoroughfully collected material he thinks, associates, finds hidden analogies so his books are not traditional professional literature. He is excited about astral symbolism, analyzing symbols and art history, so the topics of his books are born from these interests.
His first book is published in 1987 “Csillagok között fényességes Csillag -ASzent László legenda és a csillagos ég” (Shiny star among stars - the Saint Ladislaus legend and the starry night), then he publishes shorter studies. From 1988 he publishes a lot of volumes, partly as an individual writer, partly as a co-writer. His individual books follow a common line: “Jelképkalendárium” (Calendar of Symbols) 1988, “A fa mitológiája” (The mythology of the Tree) 1991, “Ahol a madár se jár” (Where no Bird Goes) 1996, “A Nap könyve” (The Book of the Sun) 1996, “A szarvas könyve” (The Book of the Deer) 2004, “3 + 1, a négy évszak mitológiája” (3 + 1, the Mythology of the Four Seasons) 2008. Either he analyzes a central topic (symbol) (The Mythology of the Tree, The Book of the Sun, and The Book of the Deer) or researches a legend (Shiny star among stars - the Saint Ladislaus legend and the starry night).
The Calendar of Symbols introduces the topic of habits and traditions of celebration days, he researches the origins of the celebrations, he analyzes the order in the calendar, and he detects ancient memories in the folk traditions and follows their survival in urban folklore.
The Mythology of the Tree stands the tree into a central point as the symbol of Time and the Milky Way. He describes the cultic roots of tree worship, and the roles of the Life of Tree in different cultures, as well as its traditions in folklore and culture history and he analyzes how determinative power this symbol had on different artists’ oeuvre and artworks (e.g. Csontváry).
The Book of the Sun is a summarizing writing: Jankovics collected the myths and ideas linked to the Sun, as a symbol researcher he looked for relations and analogues, he examined the traditions of Sun Worship in different cultures and its survival in objects, ceremonies, faith systems and religions and he points out its role in the forming of monotheism.
The message of The Book of the Deer is clear: reminders of our forgotten past and roots. Jankovics used the deer cult as a guiding line to illustrate all this. The book is a good supplementary reading for his film “Song of the Miraculous Hind”
The Shining Star among Stars (1987 and 2006) looks for and finds correlations between the Saint László legend and the annual path of the Sun in different constellation of stars. The volumes are completed by a bibliography, a source directory a name list and an index.
Jankovics is a co-author of the book “Jelképtár” (Collection of Symbols) that has had several publishing since 1990, as it was the most popular in this topic. The Where no Bird Goes (1996) and the “Mélységes mély a múltnak kútja” (The Well of Past is Deeper than Deep) (1998) volumes are collections of studies.
The Well of Past is Deeper than Deep has an outstanding chapter, The Genetics of Culture. This chapter summarizes Jankovics’ thoughts, taking shape during the years, between his lecture series: he offers an individual, complex culture theory that has a main characteristic: universality. He is interested in the smaller communities’ culture and faith system, cultural identity as well as the globalizing world’s culture. He examines how the given symbols and emblems can be interpreted in their own system, and tries to give a definition to culture.
Jankovics’ autobiographical writing the “Lékiratok I - II” (untranslatable) was crushed, charging the author with infringement of personal rights, and he lost the lawsuit. It was a reading of literature, should have been a worthy continuation of the great autobiographical writings of our literature.
In 2007 with Méry Gábor as a co-author he started to make an album series of the churches and their triptychs. The first in the book series was the writing “A lőcsei Szent Jakab templom szárnyas oltárai” (The Triptychs of the Saint Jacob Church in Lőcse) 2007. So far seven publications have been made.
Jankovics Marcell has an outstanding career as an illustrator, as well. His book illustrations are applied art pieces, but they do stand as individual works of art: they have been introduced in several exhibitions. Jankovics Marcell is a co-author, an intellectual partner when he illustrates writings. The pictures complete the books with new colors and meanings. It is important for him that the material he illustrates is a worthy one.
He regards Gara Arnold as his exemplar, whose graphic world at every level (flora, architecture, clothing and the diversity of figures’ characters) is impressively rich in details, catches and maintains attention and in his works there is something heavenly that lifts him up from the ground. He keeps this conception in mind when he composes his pictures. There is always something tale-like in his aquarelles, ink drawings and graphic works even when he doesn’t illustrate tales. For a long time he made illustrations only for folk tales and tales about King Matthias, but today he illustrates the works of contemporary writers (Anga Mária, Iancu Laura, Mirtse Zsuzsa) as well as audiobooks (Hangzó Helikon/Sounding Helicon series).
After drawing comics, his first work was the illustration of “Nazim Hikmet: A szerelmes felhő” (Nazim Hikmet: The Cloud in Love) a collection of Turkish tales. He felt it a challenge to use the miniature forms and figures of the Middle-Asian (Uzbek, Turkmenian and Turkish) people in a modern way.
As for the book The Tales and Legends about King Matthias that has had several volumes, his illustrations remind us to the initials, decorations and motifs of the “Corvinas” that are linked to the tales and legends about the figure of “Hunyadi Mátyás” (“Hunyadi” Matthias) in a symbolic way thanks to one of his tale picture. At the same time he might have been inspired by the stained glass windows of the Mátyás Pince (Matthias Cellar Restaurant) which he frequently visited in his youth. He does not want to be a verista, he does not want to solve a task by closing realistic figures into realistic space and perspectives; he unfolds motifs form the given writing dream-like and miracle-like, so the images bear more meanings. In the background, he uses ornamental floral patterns that he “grows over”. The figures move in front of often oversized and richly decorated backgrounds, and although the story takes part in the foreground, sometimes the background leans forward - e.g. in the form of a red rose or pumpkin tendril. A unique source of humor in the pictures is that the artist’s personal acquaintances sometimes appear in different roles and costumes.
In the Horse that Ate Ember (and its extended version: The Cunning Old Man) the same principle works. Only there folk art is the basis: our folkloric objects and the motifs on them are the initial points, these come to a new life among the pages of the tales.