The film is based on a documentary novel written by Gyula Krúdy in 1931. Krúdy used the infamous story of the Jewish blood libel in Tiszaeszlár, a village in northern Hungary. A young girl, Eszter Solymosi, disappeared in the summer of 1882, and the Jewish inhabitants of the village were accused of having killed her as part of a ritual murder. The writer got material for his book by collecting information from the recollections of the lawyer who represented the Jews who had been accused and from his own memories, rooted in oral tradition, as he grew up near the scene of the events.
The basic framework of the film is the coaching given by an officer in the gendarmerie office to Móric Scharf, who gives false testimony the text of which is identical to the testimony given at the trial. We see versions of the same sequence, each fo which has shifted a little bit in comparison to the previous one as the coaching continues. The filmmaker’s radical gesture is to give the viewer an opportunity to see how the protagonist's mental process develops until it reaches the final state, in which he is able to see the crime. Erdély casted László Rajk, the son of an executed communist leader, for the part of gendarmerie officer Recsky (Rajk’s father was executed by his own communist comrades following a show trial during the period of communist terror in Hungary).
Another key component in Erdély’s film is the way in which he makes the actual materials used in the creation of the film visible. For example, the mental images are shot from the editing table, so they are grainy and obscure comparing to the other scenes. The end credits section is a kind of withdrawal of the provocative images, since the actors stop playing their parts and present themselves as real people, “as civilians,” and doing so somehow negate the fabricated story (and the images of the ritual murder) presented earlier. Upon completion in 1981, the film was banned
Produced by BBS, 1981. Banned until 1989.
Cotton-wool dipped into goose grease on standing A4 format paper. Typed text on the upper left corner: “Do not separate! Do not isolate!”
Miklós Erdély intended this work to be part of the concept collection initiated by László Beke called “Imagination/Idea,” which consisted of paper works arranged into a dossier. Erdély formulated the text with this in mind and handled the work to the collector without wrapping it. László Beke was compelled to find a solution in order to protect the other works, so after some pondering he placed the work of Erdély into a nylon folder.The utilized material has a layer of meaning beyond the concrete situation as well: the use of goose grease is a reference to spiritism, which had a materialization phenomenon—the emanation of ectoplasm from the mouth or the ear of the medium in a state of trance—was faked with cotton-wool dipped into goose grease in the 1920s. In this respect, it is interesting to note that the goose grease appears in the work in its own right, providing an example for its real and meaningful use.
Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie visited Hungary in 1964 and then requested help to create a scientific folk dance collection in Ethiopia. György Martin, who had already engaged in research on folk dances in Hungary, and a colleague, Bálint Sárosi, traveled to Africa to spend two months in Ethiopia between 7 June 1965 and 3 August 1965. The Institute for Cultural Relations supported their trip, and the Ethiopian state helped organize research in the country. The Ethiopian Emperor intended to use the collection for political aims to shore up the legitimacy of the regime. Political goals were combined with academic interest, but there were no academic research groups in Ethiopia which specialized in this topic.Martin and Sárosi’s collecting trip was successful: they collected material in eight Ethiopian regions (Shoa, Wollo, Tigre, Begemder, Gojjam, Wollega, Kaffa, and Hararge) and in seventeen towns (Debra Berhan, Dessie, Hayk, Wuchale, Wurgesa, Woldya, Kuaram, Makale, Axum, Enda Selassie, Gondar, Debra Markos, Lekempti, Jimma, Harar, Alemaya, and DireDawa).
During their trip, they collected many varieties of Ethiopian folk dances, shot 3,000 meters of film, and took more than one hundred photos. They used a magnetic tape recorder to archive music. They also drew maps of their tour. Martin took notes about the circumstances of the collecting work and the characteristics of Ethiopian dances. Although they could not take part in any special event or regular folk dance occasions, they could still add their own observations on the formal elements of Ethiopian folk dances to the existing material in Ethiopian folk dance. This work was useful for Martin, who was always working from comparative perspectives.
As Bálint Sárosi recalled, they traveled down long roads in a Land Rover, and even the driver did not know precisely where they were. They used maps and tried to ask local people about the right routes. The people and the leaders of the villages where they collected helped them in their work, and locals often improvised dances. At the end of the trip, they had to submit a report and a list of suggestions for the Ethiopian state.
Copies of their collection were handed over to the Ethiopian state, but they was destroyed in the subsequent war.
Tadeusz Rolke's portrait of his friend, photojournalist Eustachy Kossakowski, with a girl named Matylda. Kossakowski is sitting on an Italian Lambretta scooter – an unattainable luxury for most citizens of the Polish People's Republic at the time. His nonchalant pose and a gaze hidden behind sunglasses create an aura of an elegant lady-killer. Both he and the shyly smiling girl in a flared dress and a blouse with an op-art pattern appear meticulously styled in accordance with the newest fashion trends of the time. They could be strolling the streets of Paris or Milan. Only the awareness of the material and aesthetic poverty of the communist capital, still undergoing reconstruction after the damages inflicted by war, brings to attention the full context contained in this photo.
In the words of art critic Adam Mazur, “the sight of a photographer and elegant youths posing was a rarity in rough-hewn and ruined Warsaw. More than reality, Rolke's photograph depicts the dreams of the generation that grew up after the war; dreams of a lifestyle very different from the standards of socialism. Despite formal similarities with contemporaneous photographs made in a similar style in the West, it is something more – a manifesto of a generation”. “That is what this photograph is” – wrote art critic Joanna Kinowska – “more an icon of style, fashion, a particular time and memory than a regular icon of a photo – a document, a testimony, an important and groundbreaking shot”.
Due to the black-and-white frame, clothes, or even Kossakowski blonde hair, the photograph may call to mind another manifesto of this generation – Andrzej Wajda's movie Niewinni czarodzieje (Innocent sorcerers), released in the same year: 1960.
Mazur Adam, Tadeusz Rolke, „Eustachy i Matylda”, Culture.pl 2014, http://culture.pl/pl/dzielo/tadeusz-rolke-eustachy-i-matylda
- Warszawa Pańska 3, Poland
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