FNE at Bratislava IFF: Kornel Mundruczo on the Current State of Hungarian Film

By Cathy Meils

    BRATISLAVA: Hungarian filmmaker Kornel Mundruczo, speaking with FNE at the Bratislava IFF (www.iffbratislava.sk) where he received a five-film retrospective, said the uncertain future of the MMK (Motion Picture Public Foundation of Hungary, www.mmka.hu) is holding up film production. While rumors about the future of MMK are making the rounds, Mundruczo says, "No one knows what will happen." For the acclaimed director, the lack of Hungarian funding means focusing on his career as a theatre director or making international films.

    However, he said, he's optimistic that there will be some answers as to the future of the MMK and the funding system in Hungary by the time the Berlinale takes place. "It's very frustrating, honestly, if it's more than half a year," he said. The problem is two-pronged: MMK debts, and the wait for a new media law from the country's new government.

    Mundruczo emphasized his own connection to the history of Hungarian filmmaking in a two hour public discussion.

    "I am an East European filmmaker. I am, and I wouldn't want to change anything about that," he said. "In my films, you can find a parallel (with Hungarian films of the past). I'm very proud to be part of the tradition," he said. "There is a tendency toward tragedy and grief, intertwined with beauty."

    But now, he noted, "Our own culture is fed up with giving money for individual films." Generous Hungarian funding for film production "enabled freedom for me. I didn't need to make changes that would compromise me," he said, in contrast with countries where films are produced without state money.

    The director, whose films are coproduction most often made with German partners, sees coproductions as increasingly important. And as a theatre director, he is in demand especially in German speaking territories. "International acceptance for me has been more positive than acceptance in Hungary," he said.

    He told FNE that he has some projects in development, but their evolution will depend upon which international coproduction partners become involved.