05-02-2008

39th Hungarian Film Week -- Day 2 (Jan. 31)

2nd Day
Filmweek documentaries
January 31. 2008. 14:30; item
Traditionally, the first two days of the Filmweek belong to documentaries. Present day docu filmmakers are often accused of not dealing with current issues and avoiding real problems affecting the whole of society. An eternal question among the docu clique is why there are so many very similar films using the same limited tools. Is it due to lack of money or creativity thereof? Nevertheless, each year brings a couple of outstanding pieces in this circle working from inadequate resources. Question remains is, is it accidental, or truly a new day beckons?
Even her fiercest critics couldn't accuse Irén Kármán of dealing with an uninteresting subject. Her documentary is about the infamous oil crime rings of the nineties.

"Men are different from women. A man can afford to do everything, a woman nothing. Women always need to suffer." This quote comes from Kriszta Bódis' docu Barisej ("Big Girl" in Gypsy). The film, besides locating women's role in the gypsy society, also shows the "crevices" - the "disruptive" seeds of feminism and emancipation as it were. A historical lesson for (big) girls.

Ferenc Moldoványi set out to shoot Másik bolygó (Another Planet) in 2003. The film has a unique, meditative atmosphere, forming a firm opinion about the world we live in, strongly utilizing both feature film and documentary elements. Having been made for nearly five years, this international co-production is a mixture of docu and fiction.

János Litauszki has largely been concentrating on presenting current events of our era in his documentaries, but his latest one conjures up the historical past, namely 1956. However, in his Titkolt örökség (Secret Heritage) focus is not on the revolution itself but its consequences; on children of revolutionaries sentenced to death, and their lives in the Kádár regime.

It wouldn't be a stretch to characterize captain László Ocskay as the "Hungarian Oskar Schindler". During the gravest terror, he was hiding 2500 Jews right in the face of the Arrow Cross (the Hungarian Nazi party).

In the 1960's young people after school often met on today's Moszkva square in Buda (then called Széll Kálmán square or "Kalef"). Once there, they were having fun, talking freely which was enough to raise the suspicion of those in power. In his docu Kalef András Kisfaludy tried to piece together the puzzle of these youngsters' story.

With her docu Menekülés a szerelembe (Escape into Love) Edit Kőszegi won best directing award at last year's Filmweek. This year she made a film about a homeless novelist, Gyula Illés. Like Eta, heroine of last year's award winning picture, Gyula was also a friend of the filmmaker for years, until one day he disappeared. The docu 11. élet (11th Life) depicts this and many other things.

Péter Forgács's latest terrific work is a stylistic masterpiece. His Von Höfler vagyok (Werther-variáció) - Privát Magyarország XV. (its confusing title means something like; "I am Von Höfler - Werther-variation - Private Hungary 15") is a disturbing family saga with lots of letters by women. During the film, as a brilliant device, parallel to the winding lives we can see glimpses of János Xantus' 1976 b&w college project, Werther and his life. János Szikora plays titular protagonist.

Media hacks (i.e. fictional news disguised as reality finding their way into regular news) slowly but surely become part of our popular culture. As such this subject deserves the Hungarian narrative treatment. The ways of preparing a hack and the reactions to them by media people are represented in Dávid Kresalek's docu Hackni.

Csaba Bereczki's Életek éneke (Song of Lives) is a colourful, lightly scented motion picture without real scents. It shows Hungarian, gypsy and Rumanian folk musicians making their way from the Carpathians to Paris in a harmonic unity brought together by music. It's a unity politicians only dream of.
Last modified on 18-07-2008