Hungarian Landscape on Hungarian Camera
Without a Chance by Gábor István Takács and Ádám Surányi and Cain’s Children by Marcell Gerő are two films from this year’s Hungarian Panorama. The titles could be switched over or even given to most of the films in the program such as Judgment in Hungary, Their Skin Was Their Only Sin, or Hopes for Sale. Mainly because almost all of the films have similar themes of hopelessness, despair and a consequent murderous anger. If you want to have a scrutinizing look at the place you live in and can watch only one film (don’t watch only one though - watch all of them), sit through the 90 minutes of Without a Chance. It is about a country where destitution, starvation, police abuse, and raging racism lead to physical violence and threatens everyday existence. Only a few miles out of the downtown cinemas where Verzio films are screened there are places reminiscing the Third World. This is what the ethnographers of rural Hungary in the 1930s must have faced when seeing the poverty, frequent child death, abuse by gendarmes, the arrogance and ignorance of those in the upper echelons of society. “Worthless both as a gentleman and a Hungarian” wrote poet Endre Ady about a politician considered a hero today, and he could well write the same about his contemporary successors. 25 years ago, on the euphoric break of the regime change, it was unimaginable that we would recess to this condition. The only difference being that today it is people with cameras who walk the lands of misery and oppression, in the footsteps of the ethnographers of rural Hungary.
Nevertheless, a few of the films show that there is one thing that cannot be taken away from people: hope (Out of My Seven Lives Five Have Been Lost about a man losing one of his legs, and Dr. Lala, about a clown trying to brighten up a cancer patient small child). The happy laughter of the skinny, bald headed child teaches us that you can do something even in the most desperate situations: make a film or perform a handstand.
curator of the Hungarian Panorama
All films are screened in original language with English subtitles except Felvidék.
GoEast-Wiesbaden, Germany, 2014 -BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM AWARD