Variations on Survival – Hungarian films at the 16th Verzió

The 16th Verzio Film Festival, held November 12–17th, presents 11 Hungarian films, of which 7 will be screened within the Hungarian Panorama section and 2 in the Student and Debut Competition. A Hungarian documentary on young swimmers, and another about hacking the media, will also be screened.

Hungarian Panorama

Szabó Réka’s poignant film, The Euphoria of Being, won the Grand Prize at Critic’s week in Locarno. It tells the story of Éva Fahidi, who returned, alone, from Auschwitz-Birkenau to Hungary at the age 20. Now, at age 90, she has been asked to participate in a dance performance about her life and she immediately agrees. Hungarian-Australian director Péter Hegedűs, centers his film, Lili, on a mother who abandoned her two-year-old daughter as she fled Hungary in 1956. Lili carried this trauma with her for decades. Now, her younger daughter has set out on a journey to uncover her mother’s buried secrets and reunite the family.

The Crazy Circles of Freedom, András Dér and Klára Muhi’s documentary, gives an account of the Intapuszta psychiatric hospital. A legendary and contested institution in Hungary in the 1960–70s, it was the first fenceless work-therapy institute in the country where artists and anti-state aristocrats lived alongside patients. Márta Bolba is a Lutheran pastor in the slums of Budapest's 8th district. In The Pastor of Mandák House, Mária Takács captures the pastor as she fights for the needy in her community, and tries to lead and unite her colorful congregation while seeking allies for her work.

The protagonist in Ágota Varga’s The Prison Chaplain is a tireless priest who makes his own rules and takes care of those society considers lost. Árpád Bogdán’s film Ghetto Balboa highlights the struggle of a former mafia member, now boxing coach, trying to prevent his trainee from repeating the mistakes he made in the past. In Alla Zingara, Glória Halász gives us a glimpse into the everyday for the extraordinary, world-famous Budapest Gypsy Symphony Orchestra and Hundred Gypsy Violins, who are spending months preparing for a concert in Moscow.

The Hungarian Panorama section was compiled by the film critic, György Báron.

Student and Debut Competition

Downstream, a short film by Máté Bartha, a graduate from the University of Theatre and Film Arts, interprets the story of Vivien, a teen who immerses herself in a military youth community. It offers her camaraderie and solidarity, but can it change her life for the better? Jonathan Hunter’s Free University is about a group of CEU students determinedly advocating for academic freedom, and refusing to accept their university’s expulsion from Hungary.

Growing Up

In Mária Anikó Nagy’s Above the Line, a perfectionist mother raising her daughters to become professional swimmers must face the uncomfortable question: whose dream are they fighting for?

Media, the 4th Power

The theme of Dávid Kresalek’s Hacked, made in 2004, remains relevant. It tackles the phenomenon of media hacking and provides a snapshot of a young Central European democracy, and its press relations, in the early 2000s.

The 16th Verzio is hosting all of the aforementioned Hungarian filmmakers, who will be available for Q&As following the screenings. The Hungarian Audience Award, a prize of 100,000 HUF, is decided based on votes cast by audience members following Hungarian film screenings.

The closing ceremony of the 16th VERZIO Film Festival will take place on Saturday evening, November 16, at Toldi Cinema. Award-winning documentaries will be rescreened on Sunday, November 17, in the afternoon.


Budapest – November 12–17
Debrecen, Kecskemét, Pécs, Szeged, Szombathely – November 21–24
Sharpen your Perspective

The 16th Verzio Human Rights Documentary Film Festival is supported by the Creative Europe Program of the European Union.