Hungry for film

Since its heyday in the Sixties, Hungarian cinema has lost its high profile. But it's time for a comeback.

Delta movie 88 248 (photo credit: Matyas Erdely)
Delta movie 88 248
(photo credit: Matyas Erdely)
The work of a group of up-and-coming Hungarian film directors will be showcased at the Haifa, Holon, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv cinematheques from January 13-19. The program, called "Fresh Fruit - Hungarian Film Days," will feature appearances by a number of directors and producers who are tough enough to visit Israel in spite of the war. During these six days, 13 films will be screened, including recent features, short films and animated movies. In addition, there will be meetings with the filmmakers. Hungary has produced some of the greatest directors in the history of classic Hollywood and British cinema - including director Michael Curtiz (Casablanca) and producer/director Alexander Korda. In the past 30 years, Istvan Szabo, who won an Oscar for Mephisto and crossed over into Hollywood - making such movies as Sunshine with Ralph Fiennes - was Hungary's best-known export. Hungarian cinema enjoyed a heyday during the Sixties, parallel to Czech cinema at the time, in spite of the Soviet control of the country. Now, several young directors are putting Hungarian cinema on the map again. The festival guests include Attila Gigor, the director of The Investigator, which is about a man who needs cash to pay for his mother's cancer surgery and gets the chance to make the money by killing a man for mobsters. Ferenc Torok's Overnight is especially timely in light of the Bernard Madoff scandal, since it tells the story of a famous stockbroker who has 24 hours to return money he has swindled from a client. Kornel Mundruzco's Delta is about a man who meets a sister he has never known and goes to live with her in a remote, rural area, with unexpected consequences. Delta won the coveted FIPRESCI Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Diana Groo's Trape is about a 70-year-old trapeze artist trying to make a comeback. Daniel Erdelyi has directed several short films. Producers Victoria Patrani and Ian Anglos will also attend. In addition to attending screenings, the filmmakers will meet with their Israeli counterparts while they are here. While filmmakers from other European countries, such as Romania, have gotten more publicity in recent years, Hungarian filmmakers are beginning to come into their own, as this festival shows.