The Cinema of István Szabó: Visions of Europe (Directors' Cuts)
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István Szabó is one of Hungary's most celebrated and best-known film directors, and the only Hungarian to have won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, for Mephisto (1981). In a career spanning over five decades Szabó has relentlessly examined the place of the individual in European history, particularly those caught up in the turbulent events of Central Europe and his own native Hungary. His protagonists struggle to find a place for themselves, some meaning in their lives, security and a sense of being, against a background of two world wars (Colonel Redl, Confidence), the Holocaust (Sunshine), the Hungarian Uprising and the Cold War (Father, 25 Fireman's Street, Taking Sides). This is the first English-language study of all his feature films and uses material from interviews with Szabó and his collaborators. Also included are chapters on his formative years, including his time at the famous Budapest Film Academy and the relationship of the state to the film industry in Hungary.
The Velvet Prison (1989: 5). Aczél would wine and dine artists, engage in discussions, and on a couple of occasions even collaborated with them (within very definite pre-set limits) in framing legislation. So central was Aczél to Hungarian culture that he seems to have, almost grudgingly, become a figure in popular folklore and mythology, and a superb and very funny parody of the man can be seen in Gergely Fonyó’s rock ‘n’ roll film Made in Hungaria (2009). In 1958 Aczél had already formulated
Canada and Australia, and we see a map of the world; another FYBNQMF PG UIF SFDVSSJOH UIFNF PG FNJHSBUJPO BOE FYJMF GPVOE JO BMNPTU BMM 4[BCØ films. The most sustained and interesting sequence in the film are the posed shots of various occupational groups such as bakers, medical personnel, waiters and nuns, their rigid group poses breaking up as individually they drift away, mingle and join other groups. There are also memories from Szabó’s life and places where he lived, and these
many areas of life. Filmmakers and other artists responded in different ways to the changes and some of them offered films which showed a darker, more ambiguous transition, sometimes a contradictory Europe where the authoritarianism of the old system has given way to the merciless cut and thrust of free-market capitalism, where rampant individualism was the order of the day and the old certainties of the past, however frayed they might have been, had disappeared for good. Nor did many Hungarians
1980, Imre Kertész’s autobiographical novel Fateless (Sorstalánság, 102 th e cinema o f is t ván s z abÓ 1975), György Dalos’s novel The Circumcision (Körümetélés, 1990), Miklós Jancsó’s documentary Messages of Stone (Kövek üzenete, 1994) and many more. It can surely be no coincidence that the preceding decades had witnessed a number of often very acrimonious and heated controversies over the issues of the Holocaust, historical interpretations (including elements of ‘denial’ or ‘revisionism’),
Furtwängler production by renowned musician Daniel Barenboim) with Furtwängler (Skarsgård) conducting. There is also an outdoor concert where Schubert’s String Quartet in C Major is played, with Furtwängler in the audience, and several times music is played on a wind-up gramophone in Steve Arnold’s office, mostly Beethoven but also on one telling occasion the Adagio from Anton Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony. Not only was this the music chosen by Nazi Radio on the occasion of Hitler’s suicide but