István Szabó is one of Hungary’s most celebrated and best-known film directors, and the only Hungarian to have won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, for Mephisto (1981). In a career spanning over five decades Szabó has relentlessly examined the place of the individual in European history, particularly those caught up in the turbulent events of Central Europe and his own native Hungary. His protagonists struggle to find a place for themselves, some meaning in their lives, security and a sense of being, against a background of two world wars (Colonel Redl, Confidence), the Holocaust (Sunshine), the Hungarian Uprising and the Cold War (Father, 25 Fireman’s Street, Taking Sides). This is the first English-language study of all his feature films and uses material from interviews with Szabó and his collaborators. Also included are chapters on his formative years, including his time at the famous Budapest Film Academy and the relationship of the state to the film industry in Hungary.
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