Live Event — 11 October 2020, 15:00
Essential Cinema: Márta Mészáros
Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival presents the 2020 Festival’s final event where Janka Barkócz will be discussing the 1970 Hungarian Beat era ballad Don’t Cry, Pretty Girls! with its pioneering director Márta Mészáros. Mészáros was the first female filmmaker to direct a feature film in Hungary and her half century long career’s many accolades include Berlinale’s Golden and Silver Bear awards (respectively for Adoption in 1975, and Diary for My Lovers in 1987) and a Cannes’ Grand Prix for Diary for My Children in 1984. We are delighted to share this conversation with audiences as part of this year’s Essential Cinema strand. The event is pre-recorded but will be streamed live.
Watch Don’t Cry, Pretty Girls! here.
Live Event Participants:
Márta Mészáros was born in Budapest in 1931. Her father, the avant-garde sculptor László Mészáros, moved the family to Kirgizia whilst fleeing fascism where, on the outbreak of World War II, he fell victim to Stalin’s purges. Her mother also died. She was placed in a Soviet orphanage and only returned to Hungary after the war. Between 1954-56 she studied at the film academy in Moscow and until 1968 she made Romanian and Hungarian documentaries. These autobiographical motifs inspired the Diary series that garnered considerable international acclaim. She has directed feature films since 1968. From her very first full-length film, The Girl through to Don’t Cry, Pretty Girls!, Riddance, Adoption, Nine Months, and The Two of Them, Mészáros depicts—in a non-judgemental way and with puritanical unaffectedness—the process whereby something great and simple happens in the life and relations of her self-aware, seeking-rebellious female protagonists, forcing them to make decisions. These films were instant international hits. In 1975 Mészáros won a Golden Bear at the Berlinale for Adoption, awarded to both a female and Hungarian director for the very first time in the history of the Berlinale. Nine Months took an OCIC prize at the Berlinale and a FIPRESCI prize at Cannes in 1977. This opened the wayfor international co-productions, and these films by Mészáros differ from those of the ‘Budapest School’ that developed in parallel with her career. The Heiresses, made in a co-production, reveals a historical background behind remarkable love triangle relationships. Then came the Diary tetralogy, of which the first, Diary for My Children, won the Grand Prix Speciale du Jury at Cannes (1984). Mészáros, with 30 feature films and numerous documentaries to her name, also made a movie entitled Unburied Man (2004) about Imre Nagy, the leading figure of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Her latest film, Aurora Borealis (2017), recognized with several international awards, looks back to the Soviet occupation of Vienna through an unusual mother-daughter fate.
Janka Barkóczi is a film historian and archivist at the Hungarian Film Institute – Film Archive. She also works as an assistant lecturer at SZFE – University of Theatre and Film Arts, Budapest. Her focus of research is on the state of the film archives, film restoration and media archaeology in the Eastern European region. As a coordinator and curriculum author, she has been involved in numerous curatorial and film education projects throughout her career. Published book: Ezerszemű filmhíradó: vizuális propaganda Magyarországon, 1930-1944. (Thousand-Eyes Newsreel: Visual Propaganda in Hungary, 1930-1944. Budapest: L’Harmattan, 2017).