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Look Behind The (Animated) Pictures. Notes On The Role Of The Aesopic Language In Hungarian Animated Film

Zoltán Varga

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Abstract The essay explores a certain tendency of Hungarian animated film related to a strategy of constructing meaning. The so-called Aesopic language, which can be found in Hungarian animated film, is interested in creating ambiguity, hidden meanings, especially against oppressive political systems. The paper approaches the development of the Aesopic language in Hungarian animated film based on two factors. The first one examines the characteristics of the animated film in general, focusing on the double sense of the animated image. The second one is a historical approach, considering how the Communist regime affected artistic freedom, and how the Aesopic language became general in Central and Eastern Europe during the decades of Communism. After delineating the concept, the essay continues with interpretations of Hungarian animated films produced by the famous Pannonia Film Studio as examples of the Aesopic language. The paper distinguishes between a less and a more direct variant of creating ambiguity, depending on whether the animated films lack or contain explicit references to the Communist system. The group o|f the less direct variant includes Rondino, Changing Times and The Fly, among the examples of the more direct variant we can find Storv about N, Our Holidays and Mind the Steps!.