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The first animation film I ever saw


Coming to the USA from Hungary - language
Jules Engel Film-maker
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Maybe I was 13.

[Q] Uh-huh

Because I went to high school here you know? But one big reason, because the language.

[Q] Yes, it must have been terrible, having to learn a whole new language.


[Q] Yeah.

Yeah. Well, you know in retrospect, looking back… looking back, you're absolutely not aware that that was a problem. But I'm, what I'm saying, you're not aware now when you think back that there was ever a problem. No it was never a problem, I don't know why. But then again, you see, what I know that I picked up the language by even if I said, 'It's ha' pas' twelve', but I said 'Ha' past twelve' - if you've got something in half, you know? So I just used that because I didn't give a damn whether it was correct or not, as long as I know that I mean to say, 'Ha' pa'' - but I didn't have the language yet so I said, 'Ha' past one'. Well I know it's okay if it's a little bit of fruit but if you deal with time it's ha' past. So whereas my sister Judy didn't spoke a word of English, not a word, for a year - but when she opened her mouth, she was perfect. Her pronunciation and everything was incredible, was just 100%. But with me, I started to speak English the next day, you know, because I just picked up words and I used them. I didn't give a damn whether it was correct or not but you see, that's the difference between people. She wouldn't talk for a year but then she was 100% correct with her language, and then she kept correcting me. Which is okay, there's no big deal, you know?

The late Hungarian-American film-maker Jules Engel is best known for his contribution to the field of animation. His work includes the dance sequences in Walt Disney's 'Fantasia' and the creation of 'Mr Magoo'. His films and lithographs are housed in museums all over the world and have won many awards.

Listeners: Tamara Tracz Bill Moritz

Tamara Tracz is a writer and filmmaker based in London.

William Moritz received his doctorate from USC and pursues parallel careers as filmmaker and writer. His forty-four experimental and animation films have been screened at museums in Paris, Amsterdam and Tokyo, among others. He published widely on Oskar Fischinger, James Whitney, Bruce Conner, the Fleischers and 200 pages of animation history for an AbsolutVodka website. He wrote chapters for the "Oxford History of Cinema", appeared in several television documentaries, curated art exhibits and received a lifetime achievement trophy from the Netherlands Royal Academy for his work with visual music. He has served on film festival juries and received an American Film Institute filmmaking grant. His poetry and plays are also performed and published. He is a leading expert of Oskar Fischinger and recently published a biography of him. He teaches at The California Institute of the Arts.

Tags: USA, Hungary

Duration: 1 minute, 57 seconds

Date story recorded: April 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008