17th Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival


9 – 12 September 2021

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Thanks to all who have entered films to this autumn’s festival. We will let you know about the selection status of your film by the 9th of August.

Don’t Cry, Pretty Girls!

Available online

17 September – 11 October, 2020

An eccentric gang of young boys and girls hit the streets and bars of Budapest after their monotonous shift in the factory has ended. Living within and out of society, but closed in their private life, they seek intimacy, entertainment and freedom. Despite being already engaged, Juli starts to flirt with a handsome musician, who takes the girl along with the band for a gig in the countryside. When the fiancé and his furious friends also turn up, Juli has to make her own decision.

In this Programme:

Don’t Cry, Pretty Girls!

(Márta Mészáros, 1970, 86 mins)

Don’t Cry, Pretty Girls!

In the form of a gentle Beat ballad, Don’t Cry, Pretty Girls! depicts the depressive atmosphere of the Eastern Block in the post-1968 era. The songs played by Metro, Kex and Syrius—legendary Hungarian Beat bands of the time—became very popular after the release of the film. While the camera work focuses closely on faces, music is the factor that creates situations around the players. Lyrics, poems and performative gestures provide not just entertainment, they also open another, intellectual dimension of the story. The captivating travelling shots by János Kende—who was also the cinematographer for countless iconic Miklós Jancsó movies—are as fluid and full of emotions as the music itself. The 15-year-old Czechoslovakian leading actress Jaroslava Schallerová is joined by important figures from the Hungarian underground counterculture, thus also making the film unique as a socio-historical document.

Don’t Cry Pretty Girls! centres around questions of personal freedom, and more specifically, freedom of choice in love. The story follows a girl who is speechless and defenceless, but extremely strong at the same time. In this film, Mészáros depicts her favourite topic: the female experience, and from the point of view of youth. The mood of a generation is reflected in the delicate style of black and white lyrical realism which immediately grabs the viewer and lingers with them. —Janka Barkóczi

She was born in Budapest in 1931. Her father, the avantgarde sculptor László Mészáros, in fleeing fascism moved the family to Kirgizia, 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. In fact, her very first full-length film,The Girl. In Don’t Cry, Pretty Girls, Riddance, Adoption, Nine Months, and TheTwo of Them Márta Mészáros depicts – in a non-judgemental way and with puritanicalunaffectedness – that process whereby something great and simplehappens in the life and relations of her self-aware, seeking-rebellious femaleprotagonists, forcing them to make decisions. These films were instant internationalhits. Márta Mészáros won a Golden Bear at the Berlinale (for Adoption,1975) being awarded to a female director and also Hungarian director for thevery first time in the history of the Berlinale. Nine Months took an OCIC prize atthe Berlinale and a FIPRESCI prize at Cannes (1977), and this opened the wayto international coproductions. These films of Mészáros differ from those of the‘Budapest School’ that developed in parallel with her career in that she doesn’tconcentrate on the social background, showing only as much of the microclimateas is psychologically necessary. 


1954: Faces Smiling again 
1955: Every Day Story
1956: Behind Calvin Square 
1956: Road Rovering
1960: Salesmanship
1960: It depends on Us, as well
1960: Peach Growing
1960: A Leader of a Co-operative Farm
1961: The Development of the Stalks and Roots of Plants
1961: Danulon Production
1961: Heart-beat
1961: The Colours of Vásárhely
1962: The Adolescent Town
1962: Children and Books
1962: Large-Scale Egg Production
1962: The Magic Ball
1963: Saturday, 1963 27th July 
1963: Work or Vocation 
1963: Care and Affection
1964: Topknot
1964: Szentendre and its Painters
1964: Callers
1965: Fifteen Minutes about Fifteen Years
1966: The City of Bells
1966: Miklós Borsos
1968: The Girl 
1968: Binding Sentiments 
1969: In Commemoration of László Mészáros
1970: Don’n Cry, Pretty Girls
1971: In the Lőrinc Spinnery
1973: Riddance 
1975: Adoption 
1976: Nine Months 
1977: The Two of Them
1978: Just Like at Home 
1979: On the Move 
1980: The Heiresses
1981: Mother and Daughter 
1982: Diary for My Children 
1983: The Land of Mirages 
1987: Diary for My Loves 
1989: Ruel Malmaison: Silver Eagle
1988: Bye-Bye Red Riding Hood
1990: Diary for My Father and Mother 
1992: Edith and Marlene 
1993: Fetus 
1995: The Seventh Room
1998: Daughters of Luck 
1999: Little Vilma – The Last Diary 
2001: The Miraculous Mandarin
2004: The Unburied Man 
2009: The Last Report on Anna

2017: Aurora Borealis


Márta Mészáros

UK Premiere

Production Country


Production Year



86 mins

Dialogue Language


Subtitle Language



National Film Institute Hungary - Film Archive

Print Contact

Tamara Nagy

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.