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Lumière Festival Honors Hungary, Screens Classics ‘Women,’ ‘The Fifth Seal’

For the fifth year running, Lyon’s Lumière Festival will honor Hungarian cinema and invite guests of the Hungarian National Film Fund to present two classic Hungarian films from important national filmmakers, Márta Mészáros’ “Ők ketten” (“Women”) and Zoltán Fábri’s “Fifth Seal.”

Both films will be presented by Lumière Festival special guest Marina Vlady on Oct 18.

It’s a treat for the Hungarian National Film Fund, coming just one month after hosting their own retrospective film festival, the Budapest Classics Film Marathon. This year’s event saw 100 films screen over seven days with more than 17,000 spectators attending.

1977’s “Women” stars popular Hungarian actors Lili Monori and Golden Globe-nominated Marina Vlady (“The Conjugal Bed”) with an appearance from Vladimir Visotski (“The Duel”). The story turns on two women, Juli and Mari, who are each experiencing marital crisis. Their problems bring the two together in an attempt to help one another put their lives back together.

Fábri’s “Fifth Seal” is the director’s third feature to be honored at Lumière. In previous editions, “Merry-Go-Round” and “Professor Hannibal” have both been acknowledged by president and director of the Institut Lumière, Bertrand Tavernier and Thierry Frémaux.

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Two box sets of restored Fábri films were released in June this year.

Since 2017, the 62-year-old Hungarian Archive, a FIAF member since 1958, has operated as a division of the Hungarian National Film Fund. At that time, the Film Fund launched a long-term national digital film restoration program under the supervision of the Hungarian Archive and the Filmlab.

Each year, the lab restores between 25-30 titles to 4k quality. So far, the Lab has already restored more than 70 features including works from key Hungarian filmmakers such as Fábri and Mészáros, István Szabó, Sándor Sára, early films of István Gaál, István Szőts, Béla Tarr, Ildikó Enyedi, Károly Makk, Pál Sándor and Gábor Bódy.

Experimental and underground films from the ‘80s, classics from the ‘30s, silent films and old newsreels have also been restored under the Film Fund’s visage.

1981’s psychedelic “Son of the White Mare,” an enduring animated classic from Marcell Jankovics, was restored with assistance from Arbelos in the U.S. and the restored copy received a North American release.

Other animated features, such as Jankovics’s “Johnny Corncob” and Béla Ternovszky’s “Cat City” were also restored by the Film Fund, along with several historically important animated shorts.

In September of this year Kino Lorber released a newly restored version of Ildikó Enyedi’s Cannes Camera d’Or winner “My Twentieth Century,” It will release a restored version of István Szabó’s Oscar and Golden Globe winner “Mephisto” in January 2020.

The Hungary Film Fund also recently renovated and modernized the Archive’s libraries, research center and film vaults, and will build 10,000 square feet of new vaults in the coming year. They are also adding nearly 75,000 reals of film from former company Mokép-Hungarofilm and state-hold film studio Mafilm to the national Film Archive. The effort resulted in the discovery of censored outtakes from Péter Bacsó’s “The Witness,” banned from 1969 to 1979, which were restored and screened at Cannes Classics this year.

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