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Entries in Hungary (17)

Saturday
Nov042017

Interview: Ferenc Török of "1945" on making a Western about the aftermath of WW2

On a summer day in 1945, an Orthodox Jewish man and his grown son return to a village in Hungary while the villagers prepare for the wedding of the town clerk's son. The townspeople – suspicious, remorseful, fearful, and cunning – expect the worst and behave accordingly. The town clerk fears the men may be heirs of the village's deported Jews and expects them to demand their illegally acquired property back.

In the new film 1945 director Ferenc Török tells the story of a society trying to come to terms with the recent horrors they’ve experienced, perpetrated, or just tolerated for personal gain. Based on the short story ‘Homecoming’ by Gábor T. Szántó and shot in gorgeous black and white cinematography, 1945 is a historically detailed drama that plays like a ticking clock Western. We recently spoke to Török in New York.

 

MURTADA ELFADL: I’m curious about the inception of the project. How did you come about it?

FERENC TÖRÖK: I read the short story by Gabor in 2004. It was visual without too much dialogue, but I thought there wasn’t enough for a feature. The timing especially was good - 1945 in the summer, after the war. It takes place in only a 2-3 hour span of time, like an old greek drama, Antigone or something. Like a western. I’ve always wanted to make a movie in real time with different points of view from different characters like a Robert Altman movie.

You mentioned westerns, I thought of High Noon while watching because of the ticking clock structure...

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Friday
Sep082017

TIFF: Foreign Oscar Hopefuls from Hungary & Belgium

by Nathaniel R

On day one of TIFF two official Oscar foreign film submissions, one emphatically weird but kind of irresistible and the other mainstream but lush and erotically charged.

what's that panda doing in her bed?

On Body and Soul (Hungary)
Written and directed by Ildikó Enyedi 

Ildikó Enyedi first came to niche fame in 1989 winning the Camera d'Or at Cannes for My Twentieth Century the story of identical twins separated as children who both board the Orient Express as much different adults unaware of the other. The film had a succesful arthouse run in the US and was submitted but not nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars. 28 years later Enyedi is winning prizes again for another film that concerns doubling...

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Monday
Feb202017

Interview: Kristóf Deák from "Munich" to "Sing" 

Kristóf DeákIf you've had a chance to catch the touring films in the Oscar nominated shorts program in select movie theaters now, we're willing to be that one of your favorites was the Hungarian short Sing written and directed by Kristóf Deák. This sweet well acted story is about a new girl in a children's choir whose teacher makes her feel less than welcome. 

Sing, not to be confused with the current blockbuster cartoon about pop star wannabe talking animals, could well be a threat to win its category though competition is ever tough and unpredictable in the shorts categories. Kristóf has seen and enjoyed the "strong batch" competition, saying "I won't shed any tears if we don't take the statue home"

I had the opportunity to talk to the young director, currently in Los Angeles for the final push before Oscar, and though he doesn't know what's in store for his career, he's taiken the smart stance of "be ready with projects and pitches" should key opportunities arise. The London based Hungarian director got his first post film school movie gig in the large editing department of Steven Spielberg's Munich (2005) and now he's an Oscar nominee for his fourth short which has been picking up several prizes at festivals.  

Our chat follows..

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Tuesday
Mar012016

Pt 2: New Oscar Trivia, Stats, and Curiosities

Picking up where we left off after the headliner categories. But click not away. The below the line crafts and specialty categories are just as important and trivia-interesting. I promise.

FOR THE EYES

Production Design: Colin Gibson, Mad Max: Fury Road
Makeup and Hairstyling
: Mad Max: Fury Road
Costume Design: Jenny Beavan, Mad Max: Fury Road

Jenny Beavan previously won the costume category for another perfect film A Room With a View. Not since arguably Dianne Wiest has a two time winner won for such polar opposite achievements. Yes both of Wiest's Oscars are from Woody Allen pictures but those star turns couldn't be more different stylistically / emotionally / pscyhologically. Mad Max Fury Road is also the first sci-fi winner EVER in this category... unless you count Star Wars (1977) though some people prefer lumping Star Wars into the fantasy genre rather than sci-fi... and there have been multiple fantasy winners.

I can't think of any interesting stats to go with the Makeup and Production Design Oscars but they were richly earned, don't you think?

More after the jump including further Star Wars coincidences...

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Saturday
Dec192015

Interview: Director and Star of 'Son of Saul' on Making Art in a Politically Correct World

Jose here. The evils of the Nazi regime have been documented in myriad ways, and in practically every medium possible. Film in particular, has created a subgenre that consists of harrowing stories about concentration camps, the diabolical genocide of the Jews, and other events that put all the human race under a shameful light. However, perhaps because of Hollywood’s tendency to overpraise the human spirit, and its relentless need to “inspire”, Holocaust films have become a “niche” meant to help actors and directors win awards. Holocaust films in a nutshell always go for the emotional and rarely, if ever, attempt to touch the intellectual.

Enter first time director László Nemes, who caught Cannes by surprise with his unique Son of Saul, which has just opened in US theaters, a film that dispenses of each and every cliché you’ve seen played in every other Holocaust movie. There are no string-filled overwrought scores, no movie stars losing weight, gaining accents or donning beards, and most surprisingly, there are no attempts at oversimplifying the Holocaust as anything other than a series of personal infernos lived in a collective reality. The inner hell in this case, is that of Auschwitz prisoner Saul (Géza Röhrig), a Sonderkommando member, who one day makes a gruesome discovery that drives him to make a decision that might have deadly results.

The interview after the jump...

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Friday
Oct092015

NYFF: The Oscar Contender "Son of Saul"

Manuel here reporting from the New York Film Festival on Hungary's Oscar submission, a powerful debut film...

The Holocaust film is, as historical subgenres go, perhaps the most well-worn. From John Ford and George Stevens’ documentary footage of the camps liberation all the way through Spielberg’s Schindler’s List and Benigni’s Life is Beautiful, cinema has been irrevocably tied to our cultural remembrance of that most barbaric killing machine. Cinema’s ability to record, to bear witness, has no doubt played a central role in this artistic canon. Of course, at the heart of the cinematic project of the Holocaust lie conflicting and controversial ethical questions. From Theodor Adorno’s “There is no poetry after Auschwitz” dictum to storied arguments about the validity and usefulness of recreating the images of Western civilization’s most gruesome chapter, directors, victims, and historians have asked plenty of hard to answer questions.

Does the depiction not merely replicate the dehumanization on which that enterprise depended? Is there a way to narrativize this barbaric act without simplifying history? Can cinema’s images ever do anything more than ring hollow when compared with the immensity of human life lost?

If all of this sounds heady as an intro to a review of László Nemes’s debut film Son of Saul, you should’ve heard leading man (and poet) Géza Röhrig and his director talk at length about these very issues while quoting Primo Levi at the press conference a few days ago...

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