Documentary Showcasing the Past of the Hungarian Film Industry Available Online
February 7, 2024
An amateur film shooting in 1939.
On Tuesday, the National Film Institute â€“ Film Archive made a documentary film entitled Lost Hungarian Films available free of charge on its YouTube page, describing the vicissitudes of the past 120 years of the Hungarian film industry, the tragic circumstances of destroyed films, and the possibility of rediscovering long-forgotten works.
According to a statement on Tuesday by the agency in charge of the filmâ€™s communication, the documentary is about the early challenges in the history of Hungarian cinema, including the flammability of nitrocellulose film reels, causing many tragic fires during the silent film era. Even the reels that survived intact were not safe, often being recycled because of their precious silver content, and many films were lost as a result. Their destruction continued in the engine room, where the machinists themselves often cut out the scenes they liked, and the piquant details were particularly at risk.
The emergence of sound film marked a turning point in the cultural appreciation of films and the importance of their preservation, but the failure to create film archives led to the loss of more than 90% of Hungaryâ€™s silent films. This was the case with the very first Hungarian silent film to be directed, The Dance (A tÃ¡ncz, 1901).
The documentary also details the challenges during and after the Second World War, in particular the tragedy of films that were sheltered in wine cellars during the war, and the political censorship.
A scene from There is Only One Girl in theWorld (1930), one of the first Hungarian talkies. Pictured: actors IstvÃ¡n Falussy and Lajos GÃ¡rdonyi. Photo via Fortepan/KÃ¡rmentÅ‘ Ã‰va
Hungarian films have traveled around the world since the 1910s, therefore there is still hope that valuable pieces from foreign archives and legacies may turn up. Although inadequate storage of nitrate raw material can cause serious damage to old films, digital technology and databases now make it possible to identify even fragments more effectively.
This work is also helped by the archives: in 1957, the Film Archive had only 12 Hungarian silent feature films in its collection, but thanks to extensive international cooperation,
this number has now risen to almost 70.
Lost Hungarian Films was directed by EnikÅ‘ LÃ¶wensohn together with BarnabÃ¡s Weisz, who also produced the animation. The composer was Botond Lelkes, the screenwriters were EnikÅ‘ LÃ¶wensohn and Evin Hussein, narrated by Barbara Hegyi, and produced by GyÃ¶rgy RÃ¡duly.
Director of Iconic “Casablanca” Born in Budapest on Christmas Day, 1886
The technical storage or access is strictly necessary for the legitimate purpose of enabling the use of a specific service explicitly requested by the subscriber or user, or for the sole purpose of carrying out the transmission of a communication over an electronic communications network.
The technical storage or access is necessary for the legitimate purpose of storing preferences that are not requested by the subscriber or user.
The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for statistical purposes.The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for anonymous statistical purposes. Without a subpoena, voluntary compliance on the part of your Internet Service Provider, or additional records from a third party, information stored or retrieved for this purpose alone cannot usually be used to identify you.
The technical storage or access is required to create user profiles to send advertising, or to track the user on a website or across several websites for similar marketing purposes.