Preview: Hungarian film showcase, Curzon Mayfair, London
Tuesday 24 June 2008
The Scottish director Kevin Macdonald has vivid memories of his grandfather, Emeric Pressburger. "He was a magical old man when I was growing up. He used to tell stories about his childhood in central Europe, then working in Britain and writing in English. Like a lot of refugees, he had a huge love of Britain and was more British than the British."
Macdonald will present The Making of an Englishman at the first Hungarian Film Showcase in London. The documentary follows Macdonald as he traipses across Europe in search of his grandfather, the screenwriter, director and producer who collaborated with Michael Powell on films such as A Matter of Life and Death and Black Narcissus.
This event is organised by the Hungarian Cultural Centre, and includes screenings of Nimrod Antal's 2003 hit Control, about a ticket collector on the Budapest subway, and Kornel Mundruczo's Delta, which was in competition at Cannes this year, about a brother and his long-lost sister who grow close while living together.
"The modern Hungarian film tends to be visually striking and bold – uncommercial by our standards. They make an awful lot of intense, searing kind of films," says Macdonald.
Istvan Szabo's 1981 film Mephisto particularly inspired Macdonald. "It was a big influence on The Last King of Scotland – I got all the crew to watch it. Mephisto is a story of an actor who sells his soul to the devil during the Nazi period in order to rise up the ranks; he gets promoted in the theatre world and he becomes a star, thanks to the patronage of the Nazi system. So this is the journey of James McAvoy's character."
For Macdonald, who is currently editing his latest feature, State of Play – starring Russell Crowe, Helen Mirren and Ben Affleck, and based on the BBC mini-series of the same name– the documentary about his grandfather was a landmark in his own career. "It was the first longer-form documentary I ever made. It is quite amateurish."
26 to 29 June (0871 703 3989)
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