State-owned film production: 1945-1988

Hungarian filmmaking became internationally acknowledged in the decades after World War II. During the period culminating in the collapse of socialism, artists of the old guard (Viktor Gertler, Frigyes Bán, Márton Keleti) worked in parallel with the new (Zoltán Fábri, Károly Makk, Miklós Jancsó, István Szabó), who not only brought a breath of fresh air but enriched Hungarian filmmaking with their many exceptional ideas and new approaches. This is when Hungary won its first Oscar and international interest once again turned to Hungarian films. Feature films made over this period of four decades reveal a rich and exciting texture both in their style and diversity of genres. The rediscovery of this, the third golden age, is still going on today.

The years from the end of World War II to the change of regime, the age of socialism, covered a diverse period in the history of Hungarian feature films, filled with international successes. Approximately 750 major features and 1000 shorts were made during this time, when film was one of the leading branches of art in Hungarian culture. Initially, film was the vehicle of ideology, then during the age of Kádárism, when Hungary was the ‘happiest barrack in the bloc’, it was the genre of freedom and a different thinking, a sort of window display to the West. The archive has virtually the entire collection of films from this period (film negatives and Mafilm legal deposit copies), with the exceptions being certain TV works that also made it into cinemas (these are held by the MTVA archive).

The Disciples