István Szabó: A Filmmaker in History
István Szabó is one of Hungary's most celebrated filmmakers, yet his work has received little sustained attention from scholars. Szabó, born in 1938 and still active, has directed more than fifteen feature films, in addition to numerous short subjects and films for television. Many of his films have won major prizes at international film festivals; Mephisto (1981)won the Academy Award for best foreign-language film. I published a detailed analysis of Szabó’s 1999 film Sunshine in my book Crises of Memory and the Second World War (2006), and subsequently did an extended interview with him that appeared in 2008. I want to build on that work to produce a book that will focus on the most significant aspect of Szabó: as a filmmaker: his deep immersion in the history of Central Europe from the last years of the Habsburg Empire to the years immediately following the fall of the Berlin wall—the whole span of the 20th century.