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Sunday, 8 February 2009

Gustavus













It is always pleasing to predict the conclusion of a movie before the end. See if you can with Gustavus Wants To Marry. Gustavus is a lucky fellow having his pick of the girls, Miss Universe no less, though all these seeming exquisite creatures have unpleasant habits, diets or they yawn through soccer matches. After a series of lucky escapes Gustavus turns to computer dating with, as I have suggested, predicable results. A rather darker cartoon directed by Ildiko Sz. Szilagyi and Marcell Jankovics. Gustavus and Alienation is a very fine animation indeed, rather more sohisticated than the previous movie. Our hero is profoundly depressed with life, as are his hard working co-workers doing their repetitive tasks. Eventually returning to his apartment block, Gustavus observes a similar depression there in the residents. I particularly liked the flights of fancy. Gustavus Inferiority Complex has Jozsef Nepp, the subject of a post a few days ago, as one of the directors as well as writer. Again it is sharply written, an astute view on life and its pitfalls. This time Gustavus is not so confident, allowing others to board the bus before him, grovelling like a dog at his wife's feet. He needs help and the doctor prescribes spectacles with surprising results. A truly excellent series as any trawl of YouTube will testify. Well over 100 animated shorts in the Gustavus series were produced in the 1960s and 1970s at Pannonia Filmstudio for Magyar Television. The series gained international popularity, not the least reason being the universal appeal of its central character and the lack of voices. With its well observed humour probing life's absurdities the key is a hero whose character can change with the plot, though has for the most part a resilience and bounce when it matters. The theme music must be one of the most infuriatingly irritating tunes going, mainly because it is impossible to dislodge from one's memory. Different directors contributed: initially Attila Dargay, Jozsef Nepp, Marcell Jankovics, Jozsef Nepp; then a second generation of Hungarian animators, including József Gémes, Tamás Szabó Sípos, Béla Ternovszky and others worked on the series in the later episodes. (source SloCartoon where there is a list of the series). A Facebook site exists to celebrate the cartoons and it was there that I took a couple of images.

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