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Hungarian short film wins Oscar

March 1st, 2017

Commentators disagree on whether or not an unprecedented series of prestigious prizes won by state-sponsored Hungarian films over the past year show that the controversial reforms enacted by the right-wing government in the film industry were correct after all.

Sing by Kristóf Deák won the 2017 Academy Award for the best live action short film. Earlier this year, Ildikó Enyedis Body and Soul won the top prize at the Berlin film festival, while Son of Saul, by László Jeles Nemes won the Oscar for the best non-English-speaking feature film last year.

In Magyar Idők, Ottó Gajdics reminds those whom he calls ‘the apostles of negation’ that when the current government disbanded the previous movie sponsoring structures and nominated Hungarian-American producer Andy Vajna as government commissioner for the film industry, they predicted the extinction of Film as an art-form in Hungary. Two Oscars and one Golden Bear represent a resounding answer to their negativism, the pro-government columnist writes.

In Népszava, Géza Csákvári  remarks that ’Sing’ wasn’t sponsored by Vajna’s National Movie Foundation, but by the National Media Council, because short films are destined mainly for television and the Council is the supreme authority regulating the TV industry.  His main point however, is that Sing’s destiny would have been complete oblivion after it was broadcast by Public Television, had it not been for the director himself and his producer. They personally called the attention of journalists to their film and submitted it for screenings in a series of international festivals. They managed to be nominated for this year’s Oscar after winning the first prize at the Tokyo Film Festival.

In Magyar Hírlap, Pál Dippold praises Kristóf Deák, who admitted in his acceptance speech that Hungary’s movie industry is being resuscitated. Dippold contrasts that attitude to that of Ildikó Enyedi, who after winning her Golden Bear with a film sponsored by the Hungarian Movie Fundation, told German journalists that she would like to be proud of her country but was instead ashamed. Anyway, he concludes, Sing’s success gives all Hungarians an opportunity to feel happy, regardless of their differences about taste and politics.


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