Dual award system takes centre stage
by Sakis Kontos
30/01/2007 - There is much anticipation over this year’s 38th Hungarian Film Week, the traditional annual showcase of Hungarian cinema in Budapest, which opens today with the out-of-competition screening of Pal Sandor's recent feature, Noah's Ark (Noé bárkája).
The event, which runs until February 6, offers over 200 films, of which 17 features in competition, 17 out of competition, 39 documentaries and 30 shorts and experimental films. But it is mainly presenting a number of innovations.
The first one has to do with the selection of the films itself: there were so many features produced last year that there had to be a pre-selection to narrow down the number of titles.
Also original is also the concept of two main awards, one reserved for an arthouse film and the other for a mainstream feature. According to Attila Janisch, chairman of the board of the Hungarian Film Week, the aim of the double awards is “to put an end to the artificially heated opposition between the concepts of entertainment feature and art feature”.
Hungarian cinema insiders say the double awards are intended to help expose Hungarian films to outside markets. Ironically, not the arthouse films – those have always done well – but, rather, the mainstream ones. Whatever the reason, some of the films in competition might well do with the extra exposure.
Csaba Bollok's Iska's Journey, about a 12 year-old girl living on the streets in a coal-mining town, will screen in the Berlinale’s Generation section, a few days after Hungarian Week ends. Man in the Nude by Károly Esztergályos and Happy New Life by newcomer Árpád Bogdán have been selected for the Berlinale’s Panorama section.
The feature film jury is headed by Ulrich Gregor, film critic, co-founder and chairman of Freunde der Deutschen Kinemathek.
The feature films in competition:
Dolina - Zoltán Kamondi
The Eighth Day of the Week - Judit Elek
The Émigré - Everything is Different - István Dárday & Györgyi Szalai
Fragment - Gyula Maár
Lads of Budakeszi - Pál Erdoss
Happy New Life - Árpád Bogdán
Iska’s Journey - Csaba Bollók
Koynec - Gábor Rohonyi
Kythera - Péter Mészáros
Lora - Gábor Herendi
Men in the Nude - Károly Esztergályos
Mansfeld - Andor Szilágyi
Miscalculation - János Vecsernyés
Opium - János Szász
Railroad Junkies - András Szoke
Slow Mirror - Igor and Ivan Buharov