Meeting Venus

1991, Hungary-UK-Japan-USA, Language: English/Hungarian/French, Subtitles: English (120’); Screening: 09.05, 20.00, Toldi Cinema, Kisterem

István Szabó shot this film after his experience of directing the Tannhäuser production in Paris; the subject and the overall tone of the movie were a completely new departure in his career in the wake of historical tableaux starring Klaus Maria Brandauer. The spirited, bittersweet parable is an ironic look at the EU preparing for unification, the ‘Opera Europa’, where an Eastern European artist seeks his place. The Hungarian conductor (Niels Aestrup) directing Tannhäuser stares – in the spirit of ‘Ex-East’ – in amazement that the ‘Western’ artistic world still manages to function amidst the chaos of bureaucracy, intrigues, and love, national and political infighting. His burgeoning love affair with the star singer (Glenn Close) is woven through with these problems. Several critics considered that the film, premiered at the Venice Film Festival, was Szabó’s ‘8½’.

Directed by: István Szabó
Screenplay by: Michael Hirst, István Szabó
Director of photography: Lajos Koltai, Balázs Bélafalvy, Balázs Sára
Music by: Richard Wagner
Cast: Glenn Close, Niels Arestrup, Erland Josephson, Moscu Alcalay, Macha Meril, Johanna ter Steege
Genre: drama
Production: Fujisankei Communications Group, British Broadcasting Corporation, County Natwest Ventures, Enigma
Format: colour, 1.85:1