21 Mar 2012

On 2-5 February, the 43rd Hungarian Film Week was organized by the Hungarian Filmmakers’ Association, that recently elected a new board       and Béla Tarr as its president.   The event which was nearly shut down last year took place with no prizes, no jury and no  public funding. The conservative Fidesz government does not favour culture and film art. The Film Week had a rich programme to offer: Features, documentaries, short and experimental works, including new films by FERA President István Szabó, György Pálfi, Kirsztina Deák, Ferenc   Török, Sára Cserhalmi, Péter Forgács, Attila Vidnyánszky, László Siroki.

Elisabeth O. Sjaastad attended the Film Week to show FERA’s support for our Hungarian members and Hungarian film, as did the programme directors of the Berlin and Cannes film festivals. The event opened with the anthology film Hungary 2011 directed by 11 Hungarian film directors. Béla Tarr, winner of the Silver Bear for Turin Horsein 2011, produced this film, which was also given a special screening at this year’s Berlinale,  Tarr explained:  “In the situation that evolved around Hungarian film we see no other possibility to prove our  existence than with the help of a video series calling the viewers’ attention to the fact that we are still capable of working and expressing our thoughts, reflections and feelings. These films are produced on virtual cents. The creators accepted to work without receiving any kind of payment and to use the most inexpensive technique possible.”

The Hungarian government is also facing heavy criticism for changing the country’s media law to stifle opposition. The European Parliament Media Intergroup held a hearing on the situation in Hungary on 28 February.

Watch Béla Tarr interview after screening Hungary 2011 here.