"Oscar-winner István Szabó is the most internationality acclaimed filmmaker of Hungary since the 1960s.
Graduating at the Hungarian Academy of Theatrical and Cinematic Art in 1957, he was a founding member of the Béla Balázs Stúdió. He first gained international acknowledgement with his lyrical film Te (You). His first feature film was Álmodozások kora (The Age of Daydreaming), 1964. Working in the tradition of European auteurism, most of his 17 films represent many of the historical and psychological conflicts of Central Europe’s recent history, as well as of his own personal history.
He became one of the well-known directors of Hungarian ‘new wave’, with his flashback and dream-styled films (Age of Daydreaming, Father, Love Film). Father won the Golden Prize of the 5th Moscow Festival and the Special Jury Prize of the Locarno International Film Festival.
Besides feature films, he has also directed several poetic films about Budapest (Budapest, Why I Love It, 1971). One, Dream About a House, won the Main Prize of Locarno, in shorts, and this study was the prologue of 25 Fireman Street. These are plagued by dream-history and loss over thirty years, including World War II, the Communist dictatorship and the uprising of 1956.
He achieved his greatest international success with Mephisto (1981), which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Four of his works have been nominated for Academy Awards (Confidence, Mephisto, Colonel Redl and Hanussen). Confidence was the first to be nominated for an Oscar (1980) and it won the Best Director award for Szabó at the Berlin International Film Festival. The ‘trilogy’ has won in total almost 40 awards all over the world. Best screenplay and FIPRESCI – Mephisto, in Cannes, 1981, Best Foreign Film Award from New York Film Critics, 1982, David di Donettello Award, Colonel Redl won a BAFTA Award, London, 1987, Hanussen was nominated for the Felix Award, Golden Globe Award, etc.
After his ‘Klaus-Maria Brandauer’ trilogy, Szabó continued to make international co-productions, filming in a variety of languages and European locations: Meeting Venus (1991), Sunshine (1999), which won three European Film Awards, Taking Sides (2001), Being Julia (2004), The Door (2012), etc."