Contextualizing History in Hungarian Films of the New Millennium

Clara Orban


Hungarian films produced after the year 2000 build on the historical reality of the fall of communism and anticipate, or come to terms with, entry into the European Union.  This article will explore six films that deal with history through multiple perspectives to dramatize the dynamic between historical events and human responses to them.  These films reference history, or efface it, as a way of problematizing the relationship between human behavior and history.  Colossal Sensation [Világszám – Dodó és Naftalin] (2005) and Children of Glory [Szabadság, szerelem] (2006), for example, examine Hungarians’ moments of defiance during the 1956 uprising but shape historical events to fit human constructs.  Contemporary history provides satire of rising capitalism in The District! [Nyócker!] (2005) whose plot weaves historical figures into a modern rendition of Romeo and Juliette.  Miracle in Krakow [Csoda Krakkóban] (2004) also presents a book as its central metaphor, and, like The District!, the book allows some of history’s uglier moments to be erased.  Béla Tarr’s Werkmeister Harmonies [Werkmeister harmóniák] (2000) and Nimród Antal’s Control [Kontroll] (2003), films without overt historical markers, provide allegorical visions of societal unrest that can be read as allusions to millennial concerns. 


history; millennium; cinema; Hungary; the end of history

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