News from the Hungarian Film Production
Between the two wars, Hungary had a significant level of film production. From the end of the 1950s, it was, in many ways, the most interesting small cinematography in the world. Its valuable film tradition and an average of thirty films completed per year increased the likelihood that quality movies would be produced there. Additionally, these factors allowed for the stylistic development of authors from widely divergent generations. Young authors are well represented in Hungarian cinema, while at the same time veteran directors continue to flourish. Veterans, for example, such as the famous Miklós Jancsó, (born in 1921), who makes new, astonishingly vital and energetic films every year.
Our program of Hungarian films, all of which were made in the last several years, received acclaim at numerous film festivals. It is especially interesting because it presents us with an opportunity to become acquainted with works by both younger and older generations of Hungarian directors, (the age difference between the oldest director and the youngest is more than half a century), and their diversity of genres. Viewers who have already seen a few Hungarian pictures probably remember their most common characteristics: passionate intensity, the dramatic destinies of fascinating characters, painstakingly produced atmosphere, and a frequent tendency toward art film. Even today, films with those characteristics are common in Hungarian production, because juries in the country and around the world like them.
In his film Wake Up Mate, Don\'t You Sleep (Kelj fel, komám, ne aludjál), Jancsó tells the story of crucial historical events from WW II through recent times, and ironically moves away from his main topic. Gyula Gulyás (1944) in his Light Falls on Your Face (Fény hull az arcodra), tells a tragic love story in an apocalyptic post-war setting which comes closest out of all of our selection to being an art film.
Despite having won many awards, these films cannot easily count on attracting a wide audience, which is a high priority for production companies. Therefore, many authors try to come up with ways to do so. Arpad Sopsits (1952) managed to do so with his film Abandoned (Torzok), while at the same time remaining faithful to the traditional vision of Hungarian filmmaking. Sopsits’s story about a boy living in an orphanage in the 1960s, won an award at the national film festival in 2001. One of the most popular Hungarian actors, Róbert Koltai (1943) directed a film that deals with socialism in an entirely different way - his comedy (in which he also stars) Mayday Mayhem (Csocsó, avagy éljen május elseje) relies on the Czech traditional genre of comedy. Smouldering Cigarette (Hamvado cigarettaveg) a historical melodrama directed by the veteran Péter Bacsó (1928), author of Witness (A Tanu) , is the nearest of our selection to being a strictly commercial film.
However, since most lovers of Hungarian film are young people, more and more directors have chosen to turn to topics drawn from contemporary life, unpretentious teenage comedies, crime movies with young heroes, or films that deal more seriously with the younger generation’s problems. One of the most successful representatives of the younger generation is Zsombor Dyga (1975), who recently showed his film Bro' (Tesó) in Split at the Festivalu of New Film and Video, and won the FIPRESCI (International Association of Film Critics) jury’s diploma.
This program is important because of the value of individual films shown in it, and for its emphasis on Hungarian cinema as a whole. (Tomislav Kurelec)