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Béla Balázs Studio

Selected Works by Hungarian Avantgarde Filmmakers

Saturday, November 4, 2017 | 7 PM

Sunday, November 5, 2017 | 4 PM
Anthology Film Archives | 32 2nd Ave, New York
Tickets | General Admission $11 | Students & Seniors $9 | AFA Members $7
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Balassi Institute - Hungarian Cultural Center New York and Anthology Film Archives are pleased to co-present a  two-evening film series showcasing works created by Hungarian avant-garde filmmakers affiliated with the Béla Balázs Studio and thematically linked to HCC's Counter/culture program series focusing on artistic resistance during the era of state Socialism in Eastern Europe.

The Béla Balázs Studio (BBS) continues to exert an influence on cinematic experimentalism in Hungary. Founded in 1959 and institutionalized in 1961 with support from the cultural policy-makers of post-1956 consolidation, BBS was originally a grassroots initiative of then-upcoming filmmakers engaged in the renewal of Hungarian cinematography. BBS has counted among its members or affiliates most of the luminaries of Hungarian cinema. In the 1970s, BBS started to admit ‘outsiders’ to its ranks, rather than limiting its membership to graduates of the Hungarian Film Academy. Throughout the decade, the Studio was the site of passionate debates, giving rise to a progressive workshop atmosphere where experimental, conceptual tendencies competed with more traditional documentary approaches in striving to spur social transformation.

BBS shorts 3

The first program focuses on the works of István Antal, one of the key figures of the later period of the Studio. The second program demonstrates the ways in which filmmakers managed to engage in artistic reflection and resistance in Hungarian cinematography in spite of the intellectual and cultural climate of the decades of Communist rule in Hungary. The two programs have been curated to demonstrate how remarkably varied the Studio’s output has been, both in scope and technique, with a particular emphasis on how different filmmakers approached themes, genre, cinematic language, and experimentation over time.

Very special thanks to Anthology Film Archives, the Hungarian National Film Archive, Miklós Peternák, Béla Máriás and Sebestyén Kodolányi. For more information regarding the Béla Balázs Studio, please visit

BBS shorts 1


Lecturer, counselor, editor, actor, and filmmaker István Antal was born on November 25, 1951, in Budapest, Hungary. He became involved with the Béla Balázs Studio in 1980, where he produced numerous shorts and eventually became a member of the board. His style was characterized by simple and radical films, which were screened both in Hungary and abroad. Antal was a close friend of Jonas Mekas, who organized a retrospective of his work at Anthology in 1994. This program will pair a selection of films by Antal (who passed away in 2009) with Mekas’s video tribute, THE SECRET LIFE OF ISTVÁN (1993). Q&A session to follow with avant-garde Hungarian artist Béla Máriás.

Jonas Mekas THE SECRET LIFE OF ISTVÁN (1993, ca. 15 min, video)
István Antal CALVARY / KÁLVÁRIA (1982, 12 min, 35mm)
István Antal ANDOR WEININGER / WEININGER ANDOR (1985, 5 min, video-to-digital)
István Antal THE SWAN / A HATTYÚ (1986, 3 min, 35mm-to-digital, b&w)
István Antal THE BLACK CAT / A FEKETE MACSKA (1987, 15 min, 16mm-to-digital, b&w)
István Antal THE SONS OF THE SUN / A NAP FIAI (1991, 15 min, 35mm)
István Antal CHESS I-II. / SAKK I-II. (1997, 5 min,

Total running time: ca. 75 min.

All films preserved or restored by the Hungarian National Film Archive, and selected by Béla Máriás and Márton Szegedi.

BBS shorts 2


Although the Studio has changed considerably in the 1980s and after the fall of Communism, eventually dissolving in 2010, the legacy of BBS continues to inspire Hungarian and international filmmakers to this very day. The selected films – comprising some of the high points of Hungarian experimental cinema – are the work of seven different directors with their distinct perspectives and filmmaking methods.

Sándor Sára GYPSIES / CIGÁNYOK (1962, 17 min, 35mm-to-digital, b&w)
Zoltán Huszárik & János Tóth ELEGY / ELÉGIA (1965, 19 min, 35mm)
Dóra Maurer RELATIVE SWINGS / RELATÍV LENGÉSEK (1973, 10 min, 35mm, b&w)
Gábor Bódy FOUR BAGATELLES / NÉGY BAGATELL (1975, 28 min, 35mm, b&w)
László Vidovszky & Gábor Bódy ALDRIN (1976, 5 min, 35mm, b&w)
Tibor Hajas SELF-FASHION SHOW / ÖNDIVATBEMUTATÓ (1976, 14 min, 35mm-to-digital, b&w)

Total running time: ca. 100 min.

All films preserved/restored by the Hungarian National Film Archive, and selected by Miklós Peternák.


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