Stars and classics at the 2nd Budapest Classics Film Marathon

Written by film

Claudia Cardinale (Once Upon a Time in the West, 8½, The Leopard), Klaus Maria Brandauer (Mephisto, Colonel Redl, Out of Africa) and Jean-Marc Barr (The Big Blue), as well as Katinka Farago, Ingmar Bergman’s legendary – Hungarian born – colleague, are all coming to Budapest. Hungarian films remastered by the Film Archive and Hungarian Filmlab will be screened along with masterpieces restored by other major European archives. This is the first opportunity to see the superbly restored Oscar-winning Mephisto, documentaries on such defining female characters of the film industry as Hedy Lamarr, the cream of the film history programme of the Cannes Film Festival is on show, and we can also learn about what inspired Wes Anderson during the filming of The Grand Budapest Hotel. All this and more at the 2nd Budapest Classics Film Marathon starting on 4 September.

The first Film Marathon was organized by the Film Archive operating under the aegis of the Hungarian National Film Fundin November 2017. Then, during the three days of the festival more than 5000 people attended screenings of restored masterpieces and hundreds took part in the professional programmes. In the framework of the National Digitalization and Film Restoration Programme of the Hungarian National Film Fund launched in 2017, so far 32 films have been restored by Hungarian Filmlabunder the professional guidance of the Hungarian National Film Archive. Among others, 13 classics by Zoltán Fábri, 9 films by István Szabó, 4 by Sándor Sára, 2 full length animations by Marcell Jankovics, Cat City by Béla Ternovszky and Róbert Koltai’s film first released 25 years ago, We Never Die, have all received new digitally remastered copies.

The 2nd Budapest Classics Film Marathon kicks off with an all-day film workshop and conference in the Institut Français on 4 September, with the participation of the directors of European film archives. The topic is digital restoration and film in education. The programme of the opening evening will be a screening of the restored Mephisto in Uránia cinema on 4 September, attended by István Szabó, Klaus Maria Brandauer and Lajos Koltai. The audience can once again count on a true movie marathon: more than 60 films in six days projected at the Toldi and Uránia cinemas and outside. As György Ráduly, director of the Film Archive, put it: “The aim is to show, in a novel and interesting way, valuable, recently restored classical films that represent a part of the Hungarian and universal film heritage, reach out to young people, turn the spotlight on rarities and ‘re-orchestrated’ popular films – all on the big screen as a true cinematic experience.”

Claudia Cardinale, one of the most significant figures in European film, will be present at the six-day event, meeting the audience on the occasion of the screening of The Leopard by Luchino Visconti and by Federico Fellini. Jean-Marc Barr accompanies the cult film of generations, The Big Blue, to Budapest. The programme also features restored early masterpieces by István Szabó, Father and Love Film, and Meeting Venus with Glenn Close in the lead role, shot in 1992, not to mention Sunshine, 1999, starring Ralph Fiennes.

There are also silent films such as W.G. Pabst’s Pandora’s Box, the co-screenwriter of which was the Hungarian László (Ladislao) Vajda, Jenő (Eugen) Illés’s Mania made in a German-Polish coproduction with Pola Negriin the title role, and there will be a premiere screening, the restored version of Az aranyember made bySándor (Alexander) Korda 100 years ago, complete with live musical accompaniment.

Animation films featuring on the programme will include the restored János vitéz by Marcell Jankovics, Zsolt Richly’s and Marcell Jankovics’s Háry János, John Halas’s (János Halász) Animal Farm, and a work never shown in Hungary before by Jean Image (Imre Hajdú), plus a short animation film block that includes the Oscar-winning The Fly and the recently restored Cat City.

Ingmar Bergman’s colleague and producer Katinka Farago (Cries and Whispers; Scenes from a Marriage; Autumn Sonata; Fanny and Alexander, etc.) is in conversation with István Szabó about Ingmar Bergman, followed by Bergman’s beautiful Mozart film, The Magic Flute, highly recommended for children as well.

One section traces a Central European ‘secret’ exactly a century after the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy (1918). The Grand Budapest Hotel is at the centre, along with those Hollywood films with associations to Central Europethat inspired the Wes Anderson movie.

The programme pays tribute to the work of the Cannes Classics section of the Cannes Film Festival with films from this year’s selection, all in perfect audio and visual quality. Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Randal Kleiser’s Grease, Billy Wilder’s The Apartment starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine, Vittorio de Sica’s mastrepiece Bicycle Thieves,and Vertigo by Hitchcock, rated as one of the best films in the world. Amadeus by Milos Forman, evergreens by Ernst Lubitsch, The Duellists by Ridley Scott, Once Upon a Time in the West, a lecture on the history of 3D from the turn of the century to today, and so much more in six days.