literature, cinema, fine arts

Animal Farm (1954)

  • Produced by Müpa Budapest

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Orwell's novel Animal Farm is required reading. And the animation movie made from the book is a required film, especially given that it was the first ever British animation feature film. We could/should also tell you plenty about its director and producer, the Hungarian János Halász, though this original and experimental filmmaker is better known to the world as John Halas. In order to narrate Orwell's allegory against Stalinism and all types of dictatorship, Halas created an animation film that showed us the medium of animation wasn't only suitable for family entertainment.

As we know, 'All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others'. Orwell's novel Animal Farm was published 75 years ago. Though he had actually finished the book years earlier, the authorities only dared to publish it in England after the end of World War Two, as they were keen to ensure the clear reference to the Stalinist dictatorship didn't incite unrest in the Allied camp. While Orwell was openly left-wing and close to several social democrat thinkers, in this work - just like in Nineteen Eighty-Four, which was published in 1949 - he made it abundantly clear that tyranny is tyranny. Regardless of party preferences, there is no excuse. The book was a cruel fairy-tale, and the film makes no effort to sugarcoat the story.
This year, Bridging Europe is looking to connect United Kingdom to Hungarian culture. One special element of all the films featured in this series is that they each have a link to Hungary. In addition to Animal Farm's director and producer, another Hungarian, the composer Mátyás Seiber, worked on the film. Seiber, who was one of Zoltán Kodály's favourite students, was one of the finest composers of the 20th century, though he is - undeservedly - little known in Hungary

In English, with Hungarian subtitles.
The discussions before and after the screenings are conducted in Hungarian.

Presented by: Müpa Budapest

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  • director
    John Halas
  • host
    András Réz



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