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Golden Reel Revealed in Budapest

BUDAPEST, Hungary-- After months of preparation, weeks of excitement and a week when Hungarian film has been the very focal point of Budapest, finally the result is out in the open and the 39th Hungarian Film Week has come to a halt. We can say that this past week has been a busy week full of programs and definitely full of films worth seeing.

February 5th, Tuesday night has proved to be the night awaited by many –the night of the closing award ceremony. As planned and anticipated, the result has only been revealed throughout the gala which actually turned out to be very entertaining despite its lengthiness—an over two-hour-long conclusion of the “celebration of Hungarian film”, what the Film Week was said to have been. Before the final moments, Budapest’s Millennial Theater –where some of the screenings as well as the opening and closing award ceremony took place– has been home to a delirious crowd: excited film directors accompanied by their producers and friends, film critics discussing the possible winners of the night, festival organizers, Hungarian celebrities, veteran filmmakers and other “friends of the Hungarian cinema” anxious to find out who is to receive the Golden Reel.

The night had been one full of awards, no wonder it lasted over two hours. András Hajós —a well-known Hungarian media personality/singer— hosted the night as a great MC, entertaining the audience with his humorous jokes yet totally being in charge throughout the whole event. He sure made the night unforgettable with some of his comments; no comparison can be drawn to the dry, humdrum opening ceremony we have witnessed a week ago. The beautifully enchanting sounds of the Jamie Winchester & Hrutka Róbert Band featuring Hungarian actress Anikó Für added to the elation prevailing among the audience.

The long list of awards started out with the Student Jury’s Green Raven Award, given to Attila Gigor’s The Investigator. The audience award based on the online votes of viewers went to Attila Till’s Panic and the feature film foreign critics decided was the best –and thus got the Gene Moskowitz Award– was Kornél Mundruczó’s Delta. Next came the scientific documentary, the experimental-short film and the documentary section handing out their certificates and awards to the pieces deemed the best in their categories. Best experimental film was Péter Forgács’s Own Death, best documentary Zsuzsa Böszörményi’s and Kai Salminen’s Last Bus Stop and best short film was Ádám Császi’s Weaker Days (Gyengébb napok). Afterwards came the very last block, the one of the full-length feature films.

Klaus Eder, president of the international jury and FIPRESCI secretary general, said that recently there is a tendency of Hungarian films becoming rather commercial so that box office hits will be bigger and movies will sell better. He added that this is only an illusion, however, as it is not a necessity for movies to be commercial to sell well. As an example he talked about how Béla Tarr’s films are known even in Peruvian cities –a continent away– despite the fact that nobody considers Tarr’s films commercial.

After Mr. Eder’s speech the list of awards continued. The Golden Microphone Award for the best sound went to Benedek Fliegauf’s Milky Way; the Golden Scissors Award was to be given to The Investigator. Ferenc Török’s Overnight received best design; best script for The Investigator and the best original motion picture soundtrack was again Delta’s. Best actor went for Zsolt Anger of The Investigator and best actress for Ági Gubik of Panic. Benedek Fliegauf’s Milky Way was given the special prize for its daring innovations and Béla Paczolay’s Adventurers received best first feature prize. Best producer went for Without Mercy’s and The Sun Street Boys’ producer and the best cameraman was that of Hourglass’.
The $25 million worth so-called Moziverzum Award went for the best genre film which has been The Investigator, and finally the best director was said to have been Elemér Ragályi for his film Without Mercy.

The prizes handed out –other than their obvious values– served only to further escalate tensions until at last the high light of the performance, the winner of the Golden Reel award has been announced. Over the past few days, there has been much talk about the feature film that has finally won and it became evident that these talks were not at all without a ground: Kornél Mundruczó’s Delta also received the Golden Reel! Mundruczó, upon receiving the first prize, said that to him this award is about surviving; instead of making him fall asleep like the spindle in the Sleeping Beauty it will simply shake him up and inspire him to aim at higher levels.

So did the 39th Hungarian Film Week end, closing a year of emerging new talents and opening one for new possibilities in 2008. Let’s hope that more and more gifted Hungarian directors receive their spindles to shake them up and enrich Hungarian cinema in the future!

By Brigitta Bokor

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