Hungarian Panorama

Everyone is making films. The man of our time has a minicam or mobile phone in his pocket, with the pupil-sized lens on its back, ready to record anything seemingly important or worth documenting. As if he were a curious tourist in his own life, camera in hand, poised to shoot. But you cannot watch and record at the same time. You can only watch what has been recorded later, after the event. The experience of synchronicity is replaced by the act of scrutiny. Earlier, we took home the images of reality in our heads – now we carry them in our pockets. Remembering is phased out by reproduction and re-watching. Kafka’s bitter prophecy seems to have come true: “People photograph things to expel them from their memories.’ Memories are subjective and fragile things, photographs are cool and indisputably objective. We are not only tourists in, but also documenters of, our lives: we keep collecting images of time, just as industrious detectives collect items of evidence.
Everyone is making films, but some do it as a profession. They not only record but also compose and edit: they do not simply record events but also understand them, dig deep in them and find the universal in the individual. This small group of people with cameras are called the documentary filmmakers. I have made my selection for the Hungarian program of Verzio from the works of such film artists – yes, there are artists in documentary filmmaking. These are works that not only highlight important social and political problems but also see the human condition in them. In other words, the main criterion for selection was not the importance or up-to-dateness of the topic but how sensitive the filmmakers’ approach was, how well they could bring the audience to the heart of a problem, and interpret these problems through personal stories of passion or tragedy – and occasionally of happiness. Matter-of-fact news coverage is about someone else – real documentaries are about ourselves.

György Báron
Curator of the Hungarian Program

The program

Three Sisters
Edit Kőszegi, Hungary, 2008, 30’
Gizi Faragó lives on a small farm with her two younger sisters. Gizi is divorced, Mari is a widow, Erzsi is a spinster. The three sisters talk about home, life and family.

“But if you have a number, a house number, you are always a person, an upright person—especially if you keep animals. That’s how it is,” – claims Gizi Faragó who lives on a small farm a few kilometers from Kétegyháza with her two younger sisters. Gizi is divorced, Mari is a widow, Erzsi is a spinster. None of them have children of their own yet they claim to have ten - the children of their brothers whom Gizi raised off and on at the farm.

producer: András Surányi
editor: Oresztész Nemes
camera: Gyula Kőszegi
sound: Zoltán Karaszek

production info:
Filmmágnes Kft
Kecskeméti u. 5.
1052 Budapest
tel: + 36 1 220 5413

selected filmography:
A 11. Élet, 2007 / Menekülés a szerelembe, 2006 / Kései születés, 2002 / Cigány kép - Roma kép, 2001 / Történetek a boldogulásról I-II., 1999 / Csövesek, csicskák, 1996 / Jobban szeretnék élni, 1995

Tile Mail
Gergő Somogyvári, Judit Feszt, Hungary, 2008, 23’
Nober Sanders' film-letter to his family in Brazil - an intimate visual testament about immigration and integration.

Set in Lisbon, this film is Nober Sanders’ Super 8 film-letter to his distant family. This personal visual testament explores the boundaries of immigration and integration. Though he had other dreams, Nober learnt the art of painting Portuguese tiles, azulejos, by which he still earns his living today. A poetic juxtaposition of tile and man, the film uncovers the impact various cultures had on both. While the Portuguese azulejo was transformed under Spanish, Chinese, Dutch, Arabic, Indian, Brazilian and African cultural influences, Nober ponders his own metamorphosis while painting tiles one by one.

producer: György Durst
editor: Judit Feszt
camera: Gergő Somogyvári
sound: Rudolf Várhegyi
music: Dead Combo

production info:
Duna Műhely
Mészáros u. 48-54
1016 Budapest
tel: + 36 1 355 9378
fax: + 36 1 355 9378

Somogyvári Gergő:
Harcosok Harca, 2007 / Lanterna – Ahol a magány se jár, 2007 / Zuhanás a környéken, 2004 / Utasok, 2003
Feszt Judit:
A mechanikus flameco táncos, 2001 / Elektronikus özönvíz, 2000 / A Szemeid mögött, 1998 / Velazquez tűnödései, 1999

Spy In A One Horse Town
Gábor Zsigmond Papp, Hungary, 2009, 51’
What are agents recruited for? Is it possible to give up spying? Gábor Rimner who was recruited by the CIA in 1973 answers these questions and more.

"In everyday usage the concept of espionage means activities aimed at ferreting out secret data. Acting on assignments received from imperialist intelligence organs, the practical tasks of espionage are carried out by professional spies as well as agents recruited from among the citizens of other countries, who on becoming agents regularly betray their own homeland." What are agents recruited for? Is it possible to give up spying? We put these and other similar questions to Gábor Rimner, who was recruited by the CIA in 1973 to be a spy. (Youth Magazine, October 1981)

producer: Gábor Zsigmond Papp
editor: Bence Bartos
camera: Zoltán Lovasi
sound: Tibor Belovári
music: Szabolcs Molnár

production info:
Bologna Film
Lágymányosi u. 21/A
1111 Budapest
tel: +36 20 435 7454
fax: + 36 1 328 8280

selected filmography:
Balaton retro, 2007 / Az ügynök élete, 2004 / Hamvazószerda , 2004 / A flaszter népe, 2002 / Esterházy-vacsora, 1999 / Budapest retro, 1998 / A kollégium végnapjai, 1996

Márton Vécsei, Hungary, 2008, 47’
Holidays, hopes, desires – inhabitants of a rustic Transylvanian village talk about their vanishing world and what is beyond it.

Kányád is a small village in the heart of Transylvania, Romania. Hiding in an idyllic valley, this community of merely 300 people evokes times when there were more carriages than cars passing by on the road. The protagonists of this film are the young girls and boys of the village whose lives we learn about through the village holidays. They talk about their hopes and fears while living in a world where time stands still.

producer: András Muhi
editor: Dániel Faragó
camera: Márton Vécsei, Balázs Szügyi
sound: Ádám Jávorka, Zsolt Hammer
music: Place Moscow

production info:
Inforg Stúdió
Kinizsi u. 11.
1092 Budapest
tel: + 36 1 219 0961

Farkasember, 2008 / Vége, 2003 / Panoráma Budapest, 2005 / Született lúzer, 2007

Who Are You To Know Who I Am!
György Ali Pálos, Hungary, 2008, 71’
Hungarian drug addicts talk about life, drugs, and their road to self-discovery.

The film crew has spent seven years among Hungarian drug addicts at one of the most unique institutional complexes in Central East Europe. The documentary brings the audience into the therapy where the meaning of “time” itself is altered. The recovering addicts raise questions that are not only interesting but highly relevant to their peers and all those in society who are similarly off and on the tracks, wobbling in the quest to find themselves.

producer: György Pálos
editor: György Pálos, Kati Juhász
camera: Gábor Békési, Tamás Csányi, Márton Szirmai, György Pálos
sound: Zoltán Végső
music: Dj Palotai, Berci Márkos

production info:
Közgáz Vizuális Brigád
Mátyás király tér 6. A. épület
1165 Budapest
tel: +36 1 407 3925
fax: + 36 1 407 3925

selected filmography:
Sztornó, 2006 / Országalma (Czabán Györggyel), 1998 / A kenyereslány balladája Czabán Györggyel), 1996

Dezső Zsigmond, Hungary, 2008, 30’
Marilin, almost forty but still with a teenage soul, lives in a small apartment in a rundown neighborhood where she tirelessly copies Van Gogh paintings from day till night. For whom?

Marilin lives in a small apartment in a run-down neighborhood. Around forty, she is still mommy’s little girl, who tirelessly paints Van Gogh reproductions from day till night just like her mother did. More of a situational documentary, this film focuses on sounds, images, noises rather than words and dialogues: the silences, the sighs, laughter, the presence of one or the other, or the lack thereof; the door, the creaking of the chair, the sunlight occasionally shining on the canvas, bringing the pale sunflowers to life.

producer: Miklós Szederkényi
editor: Gabriella Koncz
camera: Gábor Ágost
hsound: Vince Kapcsos

production info:
Dunatáj Alapítvány
Mészáros u. 48-54.
1016 Budapest
tel: + 36 1 355 83 27

selected filmography:
Boszorkánykör, 2009 / Élik az életüket - Kárpátaljai szappanopera, 2006 / Csigavár, 2004 / Aranykalyiba - Egy év Karácsony Emilkével a gyimesi Hidegségben, 2003 / Bizarr románc - Tanyasi Dekameron, 2000 / Indián tél (Erdélyi Jánossal), 1993 / Vérrel és kötéllel (Erdélyi Jánossal), 1990

Nomad Market – Three Wanderers
Péter Szalay, Hungary, 2009, 52’
The Roma family running a funfair, the long-distance runner and flute maker and the wandering photographer –traditional lifestyles in the 21st century.

Once upon a time there was
a starry eyed flute maker,
a traveling dream-maker,
and a photographer in search of light.
A true fairy tale in the hectic 21st century.
The Roma family running a funfair, the long-distance runner flute maker and the traveling photographer – three parallel stories about the past and the present, the traditional and the modern.

producer: János Vészi
editor: Péter Szalay
camera: Péter Dömötör, Ernő Nagy, Szalay Péter
sound: István Perger, István Perger Jr, Vince Kapcsos
music: Sonoton

production info:
Fórum Film Alapítvány
Róna u. 174.
1145 Budapest
tel: +36 1 251 5666 / 608

selected filmography:
Odaát, 2008 / Panoptikum, 2007 / Határeset, 2006 / Drogzarándok, 2005 / A vonat ( alkotócsoport), 2003 / Alsósófalvi anzix, 1997-1998

Women of Omor
Balázs Krasznahorkai, Hungary, 2009, 36’
Story garland of the interwoven lives of elderly women from a small village in Transylvania.

Kill, murder. This is what the Hungarian name of the village Omor, 40 kilometers south of Timisoara, means in Romanian. It couldn’t be left that way, so they gave it a new name. Now it bears the name Rovinita Mare, but is still called Omor in Hungarian. This documentary – like a lyrical “life-story garland” – looks into the lives of the (widowed) women of Omor and how their stories intermingle in this sinister-named village.

producer: Ferenc Pusztai
editor: Ágnes Völler
camera: Róbert Székely, Gábor Tausz
sound: József Kardos, Rudolf Várhegyi

production info:
KMH Film
Késmárk u. 24.
1158 Budapest
tel: + 36 1 414 0885
fax: + 36 1 414 0887

Maradék 2005 / Köd, 2000

Parallel Death Patterns
András Jeles, Hungary, 2008, 132’
The story of Lajos Szögi, ornithologist and teacher, lynched in the village of Olaszliszka and that of a 13-year-old boy with leukemia.

The film draws parallels between two recent tragic events and the stories of the people involved: the first is the story of an ornithologist, Lajos Sz., lynched in front of his daughters in the village of Olaszliszka in 2006; the second, that of a 13-year-old boy suffering from leukemia and the tribulations of his parents following his death in a Budapest hospital.

producer: Pál Sándor
editor: András Jeles, Viktor Borbély
camera: András Jeles
music: László Melis

production info:
Hunnia Filmstúdió
Róna u. 174.
1145 Budapest
tel: +36 1 221 1815
fax: +36 1 220 8749

selected filmography:
József és testvérei - Jelenetek egy parasztbibliából, 2003 / / Senki földje, 1993 / A mosoly birodalma, 1986 / Thália szekerén, 1985 / Álombrigád, 1983 / Montázs, 1979 / Légy jó mindhalálig, 1977 / Meghallgatás, 1969