’89 month by month – January
’89 hónapról hónapra – Január
Directed by László B. Révész, 53 min, 1999 (Hungarian)
The series ’89 month by month made in 1999 monitors the crucial turning points and historic events of the system-change in Hungary by using the original sources and archive materials of the Black Box and the Hungarian Television. The first episode of the series deals with January, which considered the most intensive period and the real change of the year 98’. Also, it recalls the exciting and upheaval events at both national and international levels. The film contains the Károly Grósz interview made in Davos, in which the party secretary general responds to the statement of state-party politician Imre Pozsgai. In this statement the’56-event was referred to as a popular uprising.
Moving World – Remembering a Journal
Mozgó Világ – Emlékezés egy folyóiratra
Directed by Erzsébet Csonka and Béla Kovács, 52 min, 2006 (Hungarian)
In 1975, a group of young writers start publishing their works in a new press named Moving World (Mozgó Világ). As a result of the constant political disputations surrounding the press the main editor was fired in 1983. The entire editorial staff quit to show their protest.
Bibó István memorial book, 1979
Bibó István emlékkönyv, 1979
Directed by András Surányi Z., 62 min, 2013 (Hungarian)
The clear, state protocol-free civil commemorations of Bibó centenary in 2011 justified that István Bibó could constantly remain an iconic and unique figure of the Hungarian intellectual and public life. Even at his hundredth anniversary, Bibó preserved his life work for the latter generation. His life and his work steadily resist all experiments for possessiveness. The Bibó-memorial book was published originally as a samizdat in 1980. We barely know anything about the conditions in which the book was written. The personal motivators and the intellectual background in numerous aspects have so far been undiscovered as well, although, the epoch-marking, uncensored publication has been the first opened and united demonstration of the Hungarian democratic and patriotic oppositionist groups since 1956. Dunatáj Foundation had been shooting the film since the fall of 2011 with the common aim to pay that long-lasting tribute by inviting the authors and editors alive for a commemoration.
The Nameless Village – Part 1
A nevetlen falu – 1. rész
Directed by András Péterffy, 70 min, 2007 (Hungarian)
The municipality Namelessvillage lays in the Southern region of the Carpathian Ruthenia, which is located in the processus Nagyszőlősi in Ukraine. The municipality used to belong to Hungary up to 1919, then to Czechoslovakia till the Vienna Arbitration, then again it belonged to Hungary from 1938 to 1944 and afterwards between 1944 and 1991 it belonged to the Soviet Union. Eighty per sent out of its 1620 citizens were Hungarian in 1999. These are purely the facts and figures about the village. Here everybody struggles to survive in and on his own way. Those who are persistent to stay in the village have to diversify in order to earn extra income by, for instance, black trade, cultivation or – quite often- by smuggling. Many try their luck abroad working in farms or construction sights in Hungary or Spain. Fortunately, the younger generation is still optimistic about the future: they insist on staying and studying in their homeland.
Three Kings – Part 1: The Crab King
Három királyok – 1. rész: A rákok királya
Directed by Dezső Zsigmond, 52 min, 2013 (Hungarian)
Dezső Zsigmond’s documentary trilogy cracks down on the life story of three handicapped men, who despite their physical deficiencies, stand out in their society. Although the heroes forced to live in crucial physical and financial conditions, they outshine their restricted endowments by presenting unique human attitude and strong willpower. As a result, they transform not only themselves but also their society. The key character of the first film is Mihály Csukrán, who lives on disability pension in the poorest region of the country, while raising kids statistically labelled as ‘hopeless’ with unbroken enthusiasm. To cover all the expenses he only has his disability pension: 53 thousand forints a month. He literally gives his own portion to these kids. He is “The Crab King” since he is running the marathon backwards with a jumping-rope. This is a lyrical film edited with a prefect rhythm in alternation with narrating the reality or astonished by the impossibilities, showing a sophisticated picture of the attic salt of life accompanied with Mihály Dresch precise and ‘film-conscious’ bittersweet music.
In the storm of the time – The Chronicle of Nádudvar 1988–2008
Az idő sodrában – Nádudvari krónika 1988–2008
Directed by László Révész B., 53 min, 2009 (Hungarian)
The agricultural complex of Nádudvar embodied one of acropolis of the socialist agriculture. Due to the enormous efforts (of the farmers), the giant company succeeded to avoid falling apart and survived in the time of the system chance. Many of the staff left it behind and chose to start private farming, which seduced them with the promise of independency and liberty, yet proved difficult. The soil bounded them again, peasant life couldn’t be given up except if they died. The past 20 years have witnessed struggle, doubts and early deaths.
Directed by Péter Szalay, 27 min, 2006 (Hungarian)
In August 1989 Kurt-Werner Schultz and Gundula Schafitel with their six-year-old son, Joannes from Weimar, East-Germany were on their way to the West via Hungary. They were planning an illegal border crossing like many of their compatriots at that time.
Just a small Propaganda
Taká malá propaganda
Directed by Marek Kuboš, 27 min, 2001 (Slovakian)
Former TV-news reporter talks about mechanisms of TV manipulation in 90’s and his personal involvement in creation of a fake positive image of Slovakia under the government of Vladimir Meciar.
Directed by Roman Fabián, 60 min, 2013 (Slovakian)
In 1909 in the mining area around Rožňava one of the most modern mining factories in Europe was built. Almost 65 percent of the local people worked in the total of 17 mines. After communism collapsed the iron ore extraction was stopped being left with only one mining complex open. The film Miners’ Bread focuses on the inhabitants of Rakovnica, a village in Gemer, and through a series of portraits it provides a complex mental picture of the region converging in a belief that during communism people living there were happier and their lives were better.
Disease of the Third Power
Nemoc tretej moci
Directed by Zuzana Piussi, 52 min, 2011 (Slovakian)
A political documentary about black holes in the Slovak judiciary system and about the state of law in Slovakia. The film from the backstage of the Slovak judiciary system also stands as an essay about a very peculiar form of power that effaces itself in order to adopt a new name later – justice.
The End of Czechoslovakia as Seen from the Parliament
Zánik Československa v parlamentu
Directed by Pavel Koutecký, 75 min, 1993 (Czech)
It is not easy to decide about the dissolution of the state, even if its end seems inevitable, and especially when everyone declares their fixed positions at the very beginning. The film shows the members of parliament who face an unusual task; it captures the fragile relationships, attempts to come to a consensus, shows suspicions and tactical maneuvering; negotiations as well as theatrical outbursts. All this happens not only in the parliament hall but especially in the privacy of its corridors. Although the deputies showed varying degrees of openness to the crew, the film still sets out to go beyond the facade of political speeches in order to offer a glimpse into the real workings of politics. During three months of filmmaking, the negotiations changed into a drama full of uncertainty and tension. The film gradates with each parliament session until the funeral feast for the federation at the end.
Directed by Pavel Koutecký and Miroslav Janek, 120 min, 2008 (Czech)
Former political dissident, playwright and essayist, but most importantly, the leading figure of the Velvet Revolution Václav Havel became the first president of the new Czech Republic after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1992. Due to this contradictory condition, a former state enemy gave authorization for re-structuring the state and the institutions. The heartfelt portrait documentary presents the politician, as well as, gains an insight into his everyday life from the events provoking the international debates to his personal tragedies. Film director Pavel Koutecký died in 2006, thus his director friend Miroslav Janek took his place. He was persistently working on editing the film for years. While offering a unique perspective of the Czech politics, the director portrayed Václav Havel’s inner world, who greatly contributed to the establishment of the new Czech Republic.
Holky z fildy
Directed by Natasha Dudinski and Taťána Marková, 70 min, 2009 (Czech)
The only solution is personal revolution. Revolution Girls is the story of four Czech women of the ’89 generation. Philosophy students in Prague in 1989, all took active part in a dramatic historic event, the Velvet Revolution, which brought down the Communist regime. The film explores the legacy of the revolution upon their lives almost twenty years later.
Jana Hybášková, a member of the European Parliament, keeps trying to save the world. Alena Ježková writes one book after another, probing the past for inspiration that the free but confusing present doesn’t offer. Alice Rahmanová, a successful if reluctant businesswoman, is channeling most of her energies into raising her three children, including an adopted daughter. Pavla Milcová has totally devoted her life to music and spiritual quests.
What’s left of their revolutionary ideals? How many revolutions must a woman go through before she reaches forty? And what can their stories tell us about the time and place they live in?
God’s Stone Quarry – One Year in North Bohemia
Kamenolom Boží – jeden rok v Severních Čechách
Directed by Břetislav Rychlík, 88 min, 2005 (Czech)
Seven approaches to the world, represented by a poet, a mining engineer, a wine-grower, a Roma family, a heavy-metal band, a farmer and ecologist – all carried by the director´s faith in the rebirth of the landscape. This social documentary explores the living and spritiual landscape of North Bohemia, fatally marked by the post-war expulsion of the German population, which also meant the expulsion of ancient cultural memory. After that, open pit coal mining augured decades of social engineering by the Communist state. Giant housing projects as well as agricultural soil recovered with painstaking work are the locations where the film was shot, between two Easter Sundays.
Directed by Michał Bielawski, 57 min, 2014 (Polish)
1989 was a turning point in Poland’s post II WW history. Between February and April, when the last (as it turned out) communist government was sitting down with Solidarity leaders to discuss the possibility of making the notorious trade union legal again (by then it was already more of a freedom movement than a trade union), they could never have foreseen that by December of that year they would be working together with the opposition on a new constitution and setting up a major reform of country’s ailing economy. The Polish Round Table agreement kick started political changes and accelerated reforms that no one in Poland was able to forsee. Michał Bielawski’s film documents the high spirits of the nation from the time around the Round Table talks, through June 4th parliamentary elections and Tadeusz Mazowiecki becoming our first democratic PM, to the downfall of the entire political order east of the iron curtain. Drawing from the official as well as unofficial sources, photographs and wittness accounts of that time, the director portrays 1989 as the year of renewed hope some major, to large extent positive, chaos.
Directed by Maria Zmarz-Koczanowicz, 61 min, 2002 (Polish)
The documentary Generation ’89 portrays the so-called Generation of the Great Change. They are the members of the first generation who lived their own adulthood in the Third Republic. Young people, currently in their thirties, most of them were sitting at school in 1989. They were born in around 1968. The system change reached them during their university studies, which allowed them to decide about their own future freely and independently. They faced questions like shall they go on with their studies? Shall they create independent media or civil organisations? Shall they launch private businesses, new braches such as advertising or promotion? Active participation in politics? Or rather decommunizing the secret services? The documentary allows an inspection into the individuals of the Generation ’89, who were mature adults when entering the Third Republic. Generation ’89 shows their heroes’ success and failures, worries and fears, as well as, presents the past two decades of the Polish freedom.
Directed by Ewa Borzęcka, 46 min, 1997 (Polish)
The title does not refer to the American state, but to a cheap wine brand that flows liberally in this documentary. Socially, things look bad for the inhabitants of the Polish village Zagórki since the state farm they worked on went bankrupt a few years ago. It happened in 1990; since then, the 750,000-acre estate looks deserted and the former farm workers and cattle drivers are sitting at home, musing on the old days and complaining about the grievous wrongs suffered by them. From a flourishing, thriving community, the village is now reduced to a sad lot of embittered people, whose sole income is a small allowance and whose sole distraction is the muddled intoxication of the cheap Arizona wine. The camera mercilessly registers the dismal condition of the houses and streets, and the numerous candid interviews supply a poignant image of the blind-alley situation in this remote village
Directed by Mariusz Pilis, 58 min, 2013 (Polish)
Mariusz Pilis’ film Stadiums Revolt investigates the question ‘who the supporters really are’. Why did the government select the stadiums for target-stands? Why is the media presenting the stadium scaffolds just as if they were the centre of violence? The filmmaker makes in-depth interviews with the supporters. He travels around in Poland with his camera and he visits the rival sport clubs involving their supporters in order to listen to their opinions. He gives the opportunity for the ones who yet has had no chance to speak. The film is a journey into a world, which looks completely different as presented throughout the channels of mass media.