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Animation / The Tragedy of Man

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Az ember tragédiája is an animated epic by Hungarian director Marcell Jankovics, that had been in production for over two decades before he finally completed it in 2011. It is based on a (nearly impossible to perform) 1861 play of the same title by Imre Madách and follows Lucifer, Adam and Eve as they reincarnate in various eras, both historical and humanistic. Nearly 3 hours long, it consists of several segments, each with its own art style, appropriate to the depicted era:

Needless to say, it's full of Mind Screw and Deranged Animation.

See The Annunciation if you are looking for the live-action adaptation of Madách's play almost thirty years prior to this movie. Story has it that Jankovics decided to make an Animated Adaptation of the play after seeing that movie and left rather unimpressed.

This animation provides examples of: (warning: spoilers ahead)

  • All Just a Dream: Apart from the Genesis, Stone Age and the final scene, everything is Adam's dream, aided by Lucifer.
  • Anachronism Stew: The Medieval segment switches back and forth between Crusades, late Middle Ages, and the Arian controversy. The Victorian segment, which was contemporary to Imre Madách, in the adaptation gradually transforms into The Roaring '20s and then into Turn of the Millennium.
  • Animal Motifs: Interestingly the movie represents Lucifer with canines instead of any of the number of animals that're usually associated with him: his disembodied spirit form has canine facial features, in the Stone Age he takes the form of a domesticated wolf/the first dog, in Ancient Egypt he wears the jackal mask of the priests of Anubis, in Rome he transforms into a three-headed werewolf, each head designed after the famous statue of the shewolf that raised Romulus and Remus, in Medieval Europe his helmet has the head of a wolf as decoration, in Prague he has wolf paws instead of hands etc.
  • The Anti-God: Lucifer refers to himself as "the ancient spirit of negation" who has always stood in the way of God's work and claims that as such he had equal part in the Creation, and refuses to praise God for it.
  • Art Shift: Between segments, naturally. Not that there aren't any within segments.
  • Apocalypse How: Class 3b or 4.
  • Crapsack World: Much of human history and its future.
  • Cosmic Horror: Genesis depicts Lucifer as a massive shadow spirit, darker than the darkness of space, dwarfing the constellations, and easily -if not outright accidentally- rearranging them just by gesticulating, while rebelling against God.
  • Democracy Is Bad: In the Greek segment Adam is reincarnated as Miltiades, who's executed after his political rivals turn the mob against him.
  • Dream Within a Dream: During the sequence in Prague, Adam (as Kepler) falls asleep. The sequence during the French Revolution takes place within this dream. This is the only sequence not "created" by Lucifer. When he wakes up, he finds himself in Prague again.
  • Future Primitive: In the After the End sequence of Adam's dream, humanity regressed into a primitive, tribal state, trying to survive in a frozen wasteland.
  • Hellhound: Lucifer in general, as well as some of his incarnations in particular. Especially the form he takes in Rome, inspired both by Cerberus from ancient myths and by the wolf from the legend of Romulus and Remus.
  • Humans Are Flawed: The premise is that no matter what ideal humanity might choose to follow, they'll screw it up.
  • Hypocrite: Lucifer dismisses the army of angels and spirits because they were created by God like "shadows born from light", and claims that he himself had been the dam of existence that forced God to create. He then proceeds to list opposite pairs such as matter and distance, life and death, happiness and sadness, and even light and shadow, to support this claim - completely missing that, by his own original statement, these were created by God!
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Used a lot in depicton of the 20th century.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack
  • Sapient Ship: Lucifer transforms Adam into one in Transhumanistic segment.
  • Satan: Lucifer naturally.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: No matter what new ideal Adam chooses to follow next, Lucifer shows how it became corrupted and twisted by humanity. However no matter what, Eve always shows up to give Adam a new glimmer of hope.
  • Villain Has a Point: Lucifer ultimately dismisses all of Adam's idealistic beliefs with toxic, paralyzing rationality. What he fails to understand is that hope, which brings Adam the power to struggle, is irrational.
  • You Cannot Grasp the True Form: Two instances:
    • Lucifer claims that he appears humanlike for Adam and Eve because the human form is the highest idea they can comprehend.
    • The Spirit of Earth warns Lucifer that if she appeared in her true form on Earth, even he'd be forced to his knees and the two humans would be destroyed.