Marcell Jankovics’s mission was “to show us what we are fighting for, what we have to protect and to show us how we can still remain human in the toughest battles”, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said at the funeral of the acclaimed animation film director and illustrator, in the Budapest Farkasret cemetery on Tuesday.
Jankovics, honorary president of the Hungarian Academy of the Arts (MMA) and an artist of the nation, died on May 29, aged 79.
“Jankovics showed us that only those and the cause matter whom and which we are fighting for, not the enemy we want to defeat,” Orbán said. “He warned us that it does not matter if we are winning many battles, if we are not cautious enough, our culture will disappear forever.”
The prime minister said Jankovics was “one of the last polymaths who ever lived in the world, one who has left an impressive oeuvre behind”.
“For him, to be Hungarian, to speak Hungarian was not a status, but a rank. He strongly believed that Hungarian culture was rightly worthy of the world’s attention,” Orbán said.
Jankovics was born in 1941 in Budapest. Having been denied admission to the Technological University’s architecture faculty for political reasons, he started working in a factory, and soon found a position at Pannonia Film Company, where he was appointed animation director in 1965. He worked with the best of the golden era of Hungarian animation such as Jozsef Nepp and Attila Dargay.
His works include full-length animation films such as János vitéz (John the Valiant), Fehérlófia and The Tragedy on Man, all re-imaginings of well-known Hungarian tales and dramas. He also directed an animated series of Hungarian fairy tales.
Featured photo by Boglárka Bodnár/MTI