• Datum 16-01-2014
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The Motion Picture Public Foundation of Hungary had served the Hungarian film industry for two decades when in 2011 it was replaced with the Hungarian National Film Fund, founded by the state. The new state-financed film support system ‘is to contribute to the production of Hungarian films or co-productions that provide art and entertainment for moviegoers and bring significant success both domestically and on an international level.’
Since the 60’s, New Wave auteur cinema had been shining in Hungary, with such masters as István Szábo, Miklós Jancsó and Károly Makk. Meanwhile, genre film culture hardly existed, which did not change after the collapse of the communist regime. At the beginning of the new century, another New Wave arrived. Fresh ideas and styles finally came from young debutant directors such as Kornél Mundruczó, Bence Fliegauf, Szabolcs Hajdu and György Pálfi, and there were even some attempts at genre filmmaking. Today these directors are among the most important Hungarian auteurs, while some of the old masters have retired, including the most internationally acclaimed Hungarian director Béla Tarr. Some younger directors joined this most recent Hungarian New Wave later, including the talented Attila Gigor and Ágnes Kocsis.
Recently there have been some experiments in making genre films at an international standard and several filmmakers think that the main factor for success is to shoot in the English language. In the last two years the changes in the state support system have resulted in a temporary absence of Hungarian films. Paradoxically, there has been great success in the international field, including the Silver Bear for Béla Tarr’s The Turin Horse at the prestigious Berlinale in 2011 and Bence Fliegauf’s Silver Bear there for his Just the Wind in 2012.
The first films financed by the Film Fund were released this autumn. János Szász’s The Notebook won the Crystal Globe in Karlovy Vary and has just been shortlisted in the Oscar’s foreign film category, while Márk Bodzsár’s Heavenly Shift competed in Warsaw. Meanwhile, both of those films found only a small audience in the Hungarian market. It’s apparent that the Hungarian audience needs to develop a taste again for national films and that filmmakers need their confidence. To help this process, the Film Fund has asked Hungarian-born (now Hollywood-based) filmmaker Nimród Antal (Predators, Armored, Kontroll) to direct a ‘Let’s Watch Hungarian Films!’ campaign with the cooperation of some of the most renowned Hungarian actors and actresses. In the meantime, romantic comedy Coming Out by Denes Orosz was released in December and achieved solid box-office success. But more should follow in 2014 when the first real slate of Film Fund-financed films will be shown domestically and internationally. For instance, Kornél Mundruczó’s White God is hoping for some Cannes attention; there will be feature debuts by promising young directors like Ádam Császi and Károly Ujj-Mészáros; and also some genre films look likely of success. The film support system is going full throttle, seeking a bright domestic and international future.

György Kárpáti is a journalist and film critic for Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet, among others, and Assistant Professor lecturing in communications and cinema at Pazmany Peter Catholic University