Lóránt Stőhr: An overflow of emotions: the career of documentarist Ágnes Sós in the light of the institutional context

This study analyzes the slow change of paradigm in Hungarian documentary filmmaking after 2000 by focusing on Ágnes Sós’ directorial career. It relates the aesthetics of documentaries with their institutional background, and exposes the ways how the current funding systems influenced or supported different artistic tendencies. This study claims that Ágnes Sós’ career clearly demonstrates the changes of the critically successful trends in Hungarian documentary: the Griersonian social realist paradigm, which was still the dominant mode in the early 2000s, was succeeded by the postclassical documentary paradigm, whose main goal was to create strong emotional impact on the audience – and all this happened next to the domestic institutionalization of international trends. The analyses of this paper read Ágnes Sós’ works from the perspective of the diverse aesthetic paradigms which legitimize documentary filmmaking through different cultural values (social benefits, artistic composition, impact on the audience) changing in time.


Gábor Gelencsér: Forms and politics of memory

In the Hungarian cinema of the Kádár-era, modernist nonlinear narrative became a crucial form of remembrance and communicative memory. We find 35 such films from the period lasting 35 years between 1956–1990 (e.g. Párbeszéd [Dialogue], Húsz óra [Twenty hours], Hideg napok [Cold days], Szerelem [Love], Szerelmesfilm [Love Film], Napló gyermekeimnek [Diary for My Children]). Most of these films deal with the communicative memory of the recent past (WW2, the Holocaust, the fifties, 1956, Kádár-era consolidation). Although all of the elements of this corpus (form: modernism; theme: communicative memory; political discourse: recollection, official memory, as well as the counter-discourse of the Kádár policy of amnesia) are connected with the Kádár-era film history, and are still alive in the era of postcommunism (pl. Pannon töredék [Hungarian fragment], Fehér tenyér [White palms], Anyám és más futóbolondok a családból [Mom and other loonies in the family]). With the presentation of the nonlinear form characteristic of films dealing with historical and political identity-seeking, the paper aims at drawing conclusions regarding the remembrance techniques used in the cinema of the Kádár-era (1956–1989).


Ervin Török: History acted out

The study analyses a pair of contemporary documentaries by Joshua Oppenheimer on the Indonesian genocide, films that gained large media attention. The argument presents these works as examples in which techniques of postmodern documentary-making gain a new function and a new meaning in the genre of postclassical documentaries. The analysis focuses on the way The Act of Killing problematizes the question of apology and self-apology, as well as the performative question of participation in historical events in a broad sense, with the goal of pointing out the difference between history on the one hand and the discourse on history on the other, and thus redraw attention to the dominant scripts of communicative memory. The paper also reflects on the way the second film of the pair withdraws from the effective ironic style of the first work, favoring the practice of postclassical documentaries in a way that makes it seemingly oblivious of the poetic discoveries of the former piece – and thus insights related to the philosophy of history.


Anikó Zemankó Film as created evolution.
Processes of movement, the moving and the mover in the structure of films

With movement being their fundamental attributes, cinematic and musical constructs are mobile structures in which the composition of the possibilities of human perception takes place. We can only perceive structured movement of things if the forces of the component parts are in equilibrium. As a point of departure, the article uses Bergson’s and Deleuze’s definitions, as their terminology is crucial in studying processes of movement. The aim of the article is to map out the conditions of the processes of movement implied by narrative cinema and to determine what types of factors are involved within cinematic narrative structures. Analyses of particular films aim at comparing musical forms and film narrative. In the case of Another Earth (Mike Cahill, 2011) the film’s processes of movement are compared to polyphonic musical composition characterized by the movement of autonomous plotlines. Symmetrical musical composition is used in classical harmony with the aim of creating an equilibrium in the tonal musical system. This type of movement can be discerned in The Shawshank Redemption (Frank Darabont, 1994). The third analysis examines movements of variational structure in the narrative processes of Mientras duermes (Jaume Balagueró, 2011). In this case the initial sequence of the story is repeated and developed in the form of a spiral.


Ákos Varga:  The Maze of Genres – Analyzing genres of contemporary Hungarian cinema

This essay undertakes the analysis of contemporary Hungarian cinema, approaching it from the question of genres. To begin with, we need to identify the strategy of the Hungarian National Film Fund and take a look at the recent films made without national support. After that we must investigate the tendency of genres film by film, leaning on contemporary Hungarian romantic comedies, because this genre has great tradition in our film history and its elements have been solidified. Hopefully, analyzing current Hungarian films in a method like this will get us closer to understand the tendency of contemporary Hungarian cinema.


Csaba Berényi: Moving images and meaning: bricolage and attribution of meaning in Final Cut

Interpreting György Pálfi’s Final Cut: Ladies and Gentlemen, the paper analyzes the film’s semantics, and compares the meaning-attributions in cinematic and verbal language respectively. It contrasts the montage theory of Eizenstein with that of Gábor Bódy, and looks for relevant examples of meaning-making mechanisms in Final Cut. It analyses the meaning-making methods used by Pálfi’s various montage techniques as analogous with János Zsilka’s organic, hypothetical linguistic system. It makes an attempt to prove that the film may be analyzed with the semantic model of verbal language proposed by Zsilka. Through discussing examples of the Kuleshov effect frequently used in the film, the paper throws light on the self-reflexive method of the film, stressing its fictionality, while based on the stylistic heterogeneity of segments it also discusses the question of the film’s genre, as well as the recursivity of the cinematic and verbal language.


Kármen Gáncsos: Gaps on the texture of reality: Superimposition in film and contemporary visual mass culture

The functions and meanings of superimposition have changed a lot during its more than 150 years of history (from spirit photography, different forms of visual mass attractions at the end of the 19th century, early trick films made by Meliés, till classic Hollywood narrative films and reborn effect-movies in the seventies). Superimposition had been a visible trick (according to Christian Metz’s classification of visual tricks) from the mid 1800’s till the last decade of the 1900’s, when Photoshop was published. Also, it was related to real and supernatural world, spectator and narrative, and is regarded a reflection on contemporary cultural, medial and technological contexts. The main strength of superimposition was being trustworthy even if it was consistently revealed of being technically and artificially manipulated. Photoshop (and similar software) has not just revolutionized the digital photo making and editing, but has changed the possible interpretation: in contemporary visual culture superimposition has become an imperceptible or invisible trick. In my paper I examine some examples of contemporary mass films, popular photographs and visual street arts integrating the apparatus of film and photography, to prove that superimposition in the context of new digital media can hide the signs of the suture and liquidate transparency. This is the reason why – apart from the obvious manipulation –  contemporary superimposed pictures can create the total and almost perfect illusion of reality. However, the newest superimposed photos hide their own technical tricks, and the massive experience of this kind of pictures can makes us uncertain about the ontology of photography. Nowadays we suspect technical manipulation even in a photo that doesn’t include any manipulation. Superimposition is no more a method of visual complement playing games with the human sensation between spiritual and real world, but rather the proof of a new, hiperreal, simulated reality, so-called photoreality, that rearranges our concepts about photography and reality.


Net art is net art is net art is net art. The dichotomy of medium specificity and postmedia in net art

In the context of medium specificity and postmedia, the study deals with attempts to define internet art (net art) that emerged in the 90s. First, the differentiation between “net art” and “art on the net” is deducted from greenbergian formalism, then the medium specific conception of net art is studied in a broader framework of medium theory and history. The paper argues that research based on technical bases is insufficient for the concept of medium, the exploration should be extended to both intermedia contexts and the political economy of media systems. The paper suggests a way to deal with the periodization of the history of internet art on the bases of these theoretical observations.