István Szabo

18.02.1938, Budapest, Hungary


Istvan Szabo, director and screenwriter, was born on February 18th,
1938 in Budapest. His family tradition was to become a doctor. During his high
school years he joined a drama group and read Film Culture by Bela
Balazs. He decided to devote himself to film and enrolled in the Academy of
Drama and Theatre Art
in Budapest. In his studies, he assisted to the famous
Hungarian, Janos Hersko, and made several well-received short films –
Variációk egy témára
; Koncert; Te – in the Bela Balasz
(he was one of its founders). In 1963 he graduated, and in the
following year he made his first feature film Vrijeme sanjarenja
(Álmodozások kora, 1964). Then came the acclaimed Apa (1966). In 1979 he
made the film Bizalom, which was nominated for an Oscar. The
eighties brought him his biggest career successes. His film Mephisto
(1981), starring Klaus Maria Brandauer, received an Oscar for the best
foreign film. With Brandauer and almost the same film crew he made the films
Oberst Redl (1985) and Hanussen (1988). Both of these were nominated for
an Oscar. Other well-received films from that period include Meeting
(1991), Sunshine (1999) and Taking Sides (2001). He won
the state award Bela Balsz and the Lajos Kossuth award.


Relatives (Rokonok, 2006)
Being Julia (2004)
Ten Minutes Older: The Cello (omnibus, part Ten Minutes After) (2002)
Taking Sides (2001)
Sunshine (1999)
Offenbachs Geheimnis (TV) (1996)
Édes Emma, drága Böbe - vázlatok, aktok (1992)
Meeting Venus (1991)
Hanussen (1988)
Oberst Redl (1985)
Bali (1984)
Katzenspiel (TV)(1983)
Mephisto (1981)
Der Grüne Vogel (1980)
Bizalom (1979)
Várostérkép (1977)
Budapesti mesék (1976)
Ösbemutató (TV)(1974)
Tüzoltó utca 25. (1973)
Álom a házról (1972)
Budapest, amiért szeretem (1971)
Szerelmesfilm (1970)
Kegyelet (short)(1967)
Apa (1966)
Kresz-mese gyerekeknek (short)(1965)
Álmodozások kora (1964)
Koncert (short)(1963)
Te (short)(1963)
Variációk egy témára (short) (1961)
Plakátragasztó (short) (1960)

Films by this director

Age of Illusions

(Álmodozások kora, Hungary, 1965)

Directed by: István Szabo

Jancsi, electrical engineer, often changes his lovers because he doesn’t want a serious relationship. Everything changes when he falls in love with TV hostess Éva Halk. But, the problem is that he has never met her and can only look at her, just like all her other fans, on TV. However, Jancsi manages to meet Éva. He encounters some surprises, some of them good, but some of them not so good…

b/w, 95'


(Apa, Hungary, 1966)

Directed by: István Szabo

A boy, Tako, after his father was killed in the WW II, imagines his parent, whom he has never really met. So, the boy convinces himself of his father’s immense courage. In 1956 he falls in love with a Jewish girl, Anna, and learns about the horrors of Holocaust and suffering of the Jewish people. That encourages him to find out the truth about his father: was he really the hero he always imagined him to be.

b/w, 88'


(Szerelmesfilm, Hungary, 1970)

Directed by: István Szabo
PHOTOGRAPHY: József Lörincz

Jansci travels to Paris to meet with Kata, his childhood love. They were forcefully separated in 1956 during the Russian invasion of Hungary. On his way, Jansci remembers the events and people who died or, who, like Kata, were forced to leave the country. The two souls, joined with true love, meet again after so many years and face their past…

b/w and color, 123'


(Bizalom, Hungary, 1980)

Directed by: István Szabo

Hungary, WW II. To escape the Nazi exile, János and Kata – married, but not to each other – pretend to be a married couple. Their mutual confidence grows with every day and they become close, which leads them to new temptation…

b/w and color, 105'


(Germany, Hungary, Austria, 1981)

Directed by: István Szabo

This is a contemporary version of Faust. Elevating advantages above morality, a German actor reaches his career peak thanks to help from the Nazis… This film won an Oscar in the category of the best foreign film and is characterized by Klaus Maria Brandauers outstanding performance.

color, 144'

Colonel Redl

(Oberst Redl, Hungary, Austria, Yugoslavia, West Germany, 1985)

Directed by: István Szabo

This is a free interpretation of the biography of the chief of Austro Hungarian contra espionage before WW I. It is brilliant in its portrayal of the Monarchy, as well as the difficulty of being a man from the lower social class belonging to marginal sub-cultures (ethnic minority, homosexual). This film was nominated for an Oscar while Klaus Maria Brandauer appeared in another brilliant role

color, 144'


(Hungary, Austria, West Germany, 1988)

Directed by: István Szabo

This film is based on a true event. It is the story of an Austrian soldier who becomes clairvoyant after he is shot in the head with a bullet. He can now read other people’s thoughts and predict the future. When his prophecies attract Hitler’s attention, he is put into further danger… This is the third collaboration between the actor Brandauer and the directror Szabó. The film was nominated for an Oscar.

color, 140'

Meeting Venus


Directed by: István Szabo

Swedish opera diva, Karin Anderson, stars in the international production of Tannhauser. Conducted by Zoltan Szanto, the production is in chaos due to problems with the theatre syndicate and the pervasive jealousy and clashing of participants’ egos… This is a trenchant satire about the world of opera and an amusing interpretation of what the European Union stands for.

color, 119 min

Budapest Tales

(Budapesti mesék, 1976)

Directed by: István Szabo

After WW II, a group of men and women wander through the destroyed countryside trying to get to Budapest. A few of people find a deserted tram along the river. At first they use it as a temporary shelter but soon they manage to put it back on the tracks and start their journey to Budapest. Along the way there emerges a real community on the tram…

color, 90 min


(Rokonok, 2006)

Directed by: István Szabo

”Yet those who are not kin, they have to live too” It is a centuries-old tradition in Hungary that people don’t vote for, but rather against someone. Instead of the corrupt Makróczy, István Kopjáss becomes the attorney general of Zsarátnok. Kopjáss is a clean character. His pockets are empty, but his head is full of beautiful, world-redeeming dreams. The inhabitants of the city are happy because they have a non-corrupt member of the local government as a mayor, but some of them see him as a...

digital, color, 110 min



Directed by: István Szabo

This is an overwhelming epic saga about a Jewish family that gained wealth and reputation in the last days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Ralph Fiennes plays the roles of the family’s patriarchs in three generations of the Sonnenschein/Sors family - grandfather, father and son. The head of the family, a judge and patriot, gets killed during the early days of the anti-Jewish campaign. The oldest son Ignatz is forced to change his last name in order to get a job as a judge, so the family’s new na...

35 mm, b/w and color, 181 min

Dear Emma, Sweet Böbe

(Édes Emma, drága Böbe – vázlatok, aktok, Hungary, Germany, 1992)

Directed by: István Szabo

Otkad učenje ruskog jezika u postkomunističkom vremenu više nije obvezno u mađarskim školama, nastavnice ruskog Emma i Böbe postale su suviše prosvjetne radnice. Dok je starija Emma prešla tridesetu, Böbe je djevojka srednjih dvadesetih godina, a njih dvije osim istog posla dijele i zajednički stan. Ne želeći ostati bez do jučer sigurnog radnog mjesta te biti prisiljene vratiti se u siromašne seoske sredine iz kojih potječu, i jedna i druga odluče bor...

color, 90'

25 Fireman's Street

(Tüzoltó utca. 25, Hungary, 1973)

Directed by: István Szabo

Jedna zgrada u Budimpešti određena je za rušenje, a stanari koji se polako iz nje iseljavaju prisjećaju se brojnih burnih događaja u nedavnoj mađarskoj povijesti. Topla je ljetna večer, a dok je pred ljudima nesigurna budućnost sjećanja na prošlost vode ih u razdoblje od kraja Drugog svjetskog rata do vremena u kojem žive. Jedna od stanarki je gospođa Gaskóy, pekareva supruga koja je tijekom rata u potkrovlju zgrade skrivala bjegunce pred nacistima. Tu je i njezina su...

color, 97'
See full programe