XXth CENTURY OF HUNGARIAN CINEMA

The Hungarian National Archive channels a lot of effort into restoring old films, bringing them back to new life, allowing the new generation of viewers to see the masterpieces. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Hungarian film classic Zoltán Fábri all his movies were restored in 2017. Now the leading world film festivals include many of them into their programs.
 
All the films by the outstanding contemporary Hungarian director István Szabó, who has recently turned 80, have been restored and digitized. 
 
The success of Ildikó Enyedi’s “Of Body and Soul” (the main prize at last year’s Berlin IFF) has spurred interest in her debut work “My Twentieth Century”, which won the Camera d’or at the 1989 Cannes IFF and brought her worldwide fame. “My Twentieth Century” has also been restored by the Hungarian National Archive.
 
In the near future the Archive plans to refresh the most significant works by Károly Makk, Sándor Sára, Béla Tarr, Márta Mészáros, Zoltán Huszárik and many others.
 
This year the Moscow International Film Festival in collaboration with the Hungarian National Film Archive presents a program of “resurrected” classical Hungarian masterpieces. The retrospective covers a huge part of the history of Hungarian cinema, almost the entire 20th century. Some films in the retrospective are little known, others are totally unfamiliar to our audience.
 
Among them is the recently discovered unique 1915 film “The Udesirable/A tolonc” by the director Mihály Kertész Kaminer who is better known as Michael Curtiz. Born in Budapest, he made the first ever film in Hungarian in 1912 and moved to Hollywood in 1926 where he made a brilliant career. It is interesting to compare the modest melodrama “The Udesirable” based on folk material, with his future famous projects like the legendary “Casablanca”, which won three Oscars, or his adventure movies with Errol Flynn. 
 
Moscow viewers will also see one of the first sound movies which is still a favorite with the Hungarian public. It is the situation comedy “Hyppolit the Butler” shot in 1931 by István Székely (who later also emigrated to the United States and was known in Hollywood as Steve Sekely). In 2000 Hungarian critics named “Hyppolit the Butler” among 12 best movies of all Hungarian cinema.
 
The movie “It Happened in Europe” directed by Géza von Radványi and written by the playwright and poet Béla Balázs in 1947 narrates the story of survival of Hungarian Gavroches in the hard post-war years. It seems so fresh and modern as though it were made only recently. This movie is considered the key work of its period, the starting point of all post-war Hungarian cinema.
 
The legendary couple Vladimir Vysotsky and Marina Vlady appeared on the screen as a duo only once in Márta Mészáros’s “Women” (1977). Thanks to the efforts of Hungarian archivists this movie also has a new life.
 
Today at the end of the second decade of the 21st century Ildikó Enyedi ‘s “My Twentieth Century”, which was already mentioned (in 2000 the movie was also named by Hungarian film critics among 12 best national films) speaks about the beginning of the 20th century. And about the beginning of cinema.
 
The program of restored Hungarian classics will open with the film “Age of Illusions” (1964). István Szabó himself will introduce his own movie shot in the spirit of the French New Wave.
 
Evgenia Tirdatova