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Hungarian film director Peter Bacso dies at 81

Hungarian film director Peter Bacso dies at 81

Scriptwriter and film director Peter Bacso, whose best-known films satirize life in Hungary during the Stalinist era, died on Wednesday. He was 81.
The Association of Hungarian Film Artists announced Bacso's death, but gave no cause or other details.
A major figure in Hungary's film industry, Bacso was best known for films such as "The Witness" and "Oh, Bloody Life."
He began his career in 1947 as a scriptwriter and script editor on films such as "Valahol Europaban" ("It Happened in Europe"), and went on to work with top Hungarian directors including Geza Radvanyi, Karoly Makk and Zoltan Fabri.
In the early 1960s he began directing, and in 1969 made his most famous film, "A tanu" ("The Witness"). The film, about the absurdity of life during the early 1950s, was initially banned in Hungary and was not shown publicly until a decade later. But it was well-received at the 1981 Cannes Film Festival and has since become a cult film in Hungary.
The film focuses on the misadventures of a lowly countryside dike keeper, Jozsef Pelikan, who instead of being punished for killing his pig to feed his family, is sent to Budapest, the capital, and given a job high in the communist bureaucracy. When his benefactor, the slimy Comrade Virag, seeks to call in his favor and have Pelikan testify at a show trial _ a staple of the times _ Pelikan refuses and instead denounces all those involved in the sham.
"'Witness' became the film of the change of regime" from communism to democracy in the 1980s and early 1990s, said film critic Gellert Kovacs. "It was able to communicate even to foreigners" what the Stalinist times were like.
Bacso was presented with a lifetime achievement award at this year's Hungarian Film Week, which also featured his last film, "Majdnem szuz" ("Almost A Virgin").
Born Jan. 6, 1928, in the Slovak city of Kosice, which has a large ethnic Hungarian population, Bacso moved with his family to Hungary in the early 1940s and graduated from Budapest's Theater And Film University in 1950.


Updated : 2020-12-03 16:26 GMT+08:00