American Cinema Foundation
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Freedom Film Festival 2002: The Films

Freedom Film Festival Poster

Freedom Film Festival Poster by Wiktor Sadowski © American Cinema Foundation

The Holloway FileDatabase of Russian and Ex-Soviet Union directors

Notes on the Films from the Festival Curator

When the cinema of the ex-Communist countries looks at history, the memory of fear is always there, sometimes just beyond the edges of the picture. The ACF founded the Freedom Film Festival to help establish a cultural dialog about the issues of democracy and liberty, and remind us that art must respect history.

Festival films for 2002 include: "The Condemnation of Franciszek Klos," a videofilm by Andrzej Wajda that charts the downfall of a wartime collaborator and traitor. "Chico" is the fictional story of a committed, confused Communist fighter who has seen action from Chile to Croatia."A Place On Earth," set in the nirvana and madness of a Moscow commune, portrays a charismatic leader who tries to defy the natural laws of the social order. One lovely day in the Romanian countryside is the setting for an encounter called"An Afternoon with a Torturer," a chilling meditation on guilt and memory by one of Romania's all-time great directors, Lucian Pintilie."True Stories" (Russia/Azerbaijan) is based on Mikhail Zoschenko's biting satire of 1920s Moscow, inventively re-imagined. "Velvet Hangover" revisits the Czech New Wave of the sixites, and the later fates of its creators. We celebrate Hungarian director Gyula Gazdag for his originality and courage: "The Whistling Cobblestone" (1971) is about a teacher doubting the truth in the socialist values he tries to impart to youth. This leads to the biting allegories of "Singing On The Treadmill" (1974), which is openly skeptical about Marxist man's ideals.

In addition, the Freedom Film Festival, in partnership with the Goethe Institut-Los Angeles, presents a series of programs at the Freedom Film Festival in Los Angeles. We will have conversations and screenings with prominent Berliners who played a key role in opening our eyes to the East: Film curators Ulrich Gregor and Erika Gregor, for leading the Forum of Young Cinema; Ron Holloway and Dorothea Moritz, for thirty years of journalism and filmmaking; Volker Koepp, for his honest documentarian's eye; and Manfred Durniok, photographer, director, and Academy Award-winning producer.


An Afternoon With A Torturer

An Afternoon with a Torturer

88 min., 35mm Color
Language: Romanian with English subtitles

Director: Lucian Pintilie
Screenplay: Lucian Pintilie, from "The Road to Damascus" by Doina Jela
Director of Photography: Calin Ghibu
Editor: Nita Chivulescu
Production Design: Calin Papura
Production: YMC Productions, Studio for Cinematic Creation of the Romanian Ministry of Culture and National Film Center Filmex Romania Constantin Popescu
Producer: Yvonn Crenn, Co-Producer
Cast: Gheorghe Dinica, Radu Beligan, Ioana Macaria, Coca Bloos, Dorina Chiriac

Contact: Dominique Welinski, Y.M.C. Productions
9, rue de la Croix
78250 Mezy/Seine France
Tel.: +33 1 30 99 87 02
Fax: +33 1 30 995312

Der Nachmittag eines Folterknecht
Dupa-amiaza unui tortionar
(Romania/France 2001)

About the Film
This droll, stylish film is not what the title might suggest. The surfaces of the story are, at first, so different and inviting… companions sharing a train ride in the countryside, an outdoor meal on a gorgeous clear day, home-grown food so fresh you can taste it. But beneath the sunny surface, it ends in candid talk-between an ex-Securitate torturer, a former victim, and a curious journalist-about how much "hand labor" had to go into the manufacture of mass confession during the worst excesses of the Communist era. So it is that one afternoon in the disturbingly everyday life of Frant Tandara, (based on the memoirs of retired secret policeman Franz Tander) forms the basis of a dramatic sketch, like a Moliere impromptu, by one of Romania's best-known directors. A central irony of Tandara's encounter with victim and journalist is that the former master of other people's confessions fails to make his own confession convincing to his guests. You won't see or hear anything that is physically repellent. On the contrary, the chilling moral effect of Pintilie's "Torturer" is achieved precisely by implication. Screened at the 2001 Venice Film Festival.

Director's Filmography
Born in 1933 in Romania. His film The Oak is the most respected Romanian film made in many years. Since 1990 he has headed the Film Department of the Romanian Ministry of Culture. From 1956-1972, he directed some thirty productions of Brecht, Gorky, Chekhov, Max Frisch, Gogol, et al, most of which toured internationally. In 1972, after a series of official warnings, his production of "The Inspector General" by Gogol was banned by the government. Following the ban, he directed his first film, based on Ionesco's "The Picture." Thereafter he started to work in France, especially with the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris. His debut in opera direction was Mozart's "The Magic Flute" for the Festival of Aix-en-Provence, and the opera houses of Lyon and Nice.


Sunday at Six (Duminica la ora 6, 1965), Reconstruction (Reconstituirea, 1969)
Ward No. 6 (Salonul nr. 6, 1979)
Prize of the Ecumenical Jury, Cannes, 1979
Why Are the Bells Ringing, Mitica? (De ce trag clopotele, Mitica? 1982) banned for 10 years, released in Romania in 1991
The Oak Tree (Balanta / Le chene, 1991) in competition at Cannes 1992
An Unforgettable Summer (O vara de neuitat, 1994) in competition at Cannes 1994
Lumière and Company (Lumière et compagnie, 1995)
Too Late (Prea târziu, 1996) in competition at Cannes, 1996
Last Stop Paradise (Terminus Paradis, 1998) Jury Special Prize, Venice 1998
An Afternoon With A Torturer (Dupa-amiaza unui tortionar, 2000)




108 min., 35mm Color
Language: Hungarian, Spanish, Croatian with English subtitles, and English

Director: Ibolya Fekete
Screenplay: Ibolya Fekete
Director of Photography: Nyika Jancsó, Mátyás Erdély, Antonio Farias
Sound: Robert Juhasz
Editor: Anna Kornis
Production Design: Mladen Ozbolt
Production: Hunnia Studio, ZDF-ARTE, Maxima Film, Roos Film, with Duna-TV, TV2
Producer: Sándor Simó (Hunnia Studio), Hans Kutnewsky (ZDF-Arte), Damir Teresak (Maximia Film-HTV), J.J. Harting (Roos Film)
Cast: Eduardo Rózsa Flores, Sergio Hernandez, Richie Varga

Contact: Katalin Vajda, Magyar Filmunio
Varosligeti fasor 38
H-1068 Budapest
Tel.: +36 1 351 7760
Fax: +36 1 352 6734

Hungary/Germany/Croatia/Chile, 2001

About the Film
What kind of person still defines themself as a Communist revolutionary in a post-1991 world? "Chico" is the controversial, fictional story of a lifelong guerrilla fighter, born in Latin America of European Communist parents, whose mixed background leaves him in a state of ideological confusion. This lethal Don Quixote, as imagined by writer-director Ibolya Fekete, is on hand for every confrontation he can find, from the collapse of the Allende government in Chile to the front-line battles between the Serbs and the Croats in 1990s Europe. Lenin defined violent, hyper-idealistic "Left-Wing Communism" as an infantile disorder. Chico, the character, and "Chico," the film, get their steely and scary qualities from that same sense of motiveless rebellion and disorder. It's not a documentary on the war for Croatia, nor is it an essay on Communism; rather, it's a portrait of a certain kind of misfit-the kind that is often the useful pawn of others who want to make history. Winner for Best Director at the 2001 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

Director's Filmography
Ibolya Fekete was born in 1951 and studied Hungarian and Russian Literature and Linguistics at the Lajos Kossuth University in Debrecen. In 1980 she began working with Hunnia Studios, where she has also been co-author of György Szomjas' scripts. In 1990 she directed her first documentary. Her feature-film debut, Bolse Vita (1996), captured the chaotic spirit of the times and won several international awards. She received the Béla Balázs Award in 1997.


Berlin and Back (Berlinböl Berlinbe, 1990)
Children of the Apocalypse 1-2 (Az Apokalipszis gyermekei I-II., 1992)
Bolshe Vita (Bolse Vita, 1996)
Grand Prize, FIPRESCI Prize, Sochi
Grand Prize, Don Quijote-Prize, Cottbus
Prix Europa: European Parliament's
Special Prize, Berlin
Satyajit Ray-Prize, London


The Condemnation of Franciszek Klos

The Condemnation of Franciszek Klos

93 min., Beta SP Color
Language: Polish with English subtitles

Director: Andrzej Wajda
Screenplay: Andrzej Wajda, Zygmunt Malanowicz. Based on the novel by Stanislaw Rembek
Director of Photography: Bartosz Prokopowicz
Music: Stanislaw Radwan
Editor: Katarzyna Rudnik
Production Design: Halina Dobrowolska, Agnieszka Bartold
Production: AKSON Film Studio for Telewizja Polska S.A., Agencja Filmowa
Producer: Slawomir Rogowski
Cast: Miroslaw Baka, Grazyna Blecka-Kolska, Maja Komorowska, Andrzej Chyra, Krzysztof Globisz, Artur Zmijewski

Contact: Malgorzata Cup
Telewizja Polska S.A., Poltel Ent.
Ul. Woronicza 17
00-999 Warsaw, Poland
Tel.: +48 22 547 61 39
Fax: +48 22 547 7583

Verurteilung des Franciszek Klos
Wyrok na Franciszka Klosav
(Poland, 2000)

About the Film
During the wartime occupation of Poland, small-town policeman Klos tries to exploit his ethnic German roots to achieve the trusted status of Volksdeutscher. He'll take any assignment, and is so eager for acceptance that he soon exceeds the ferocity even of his military masters. Once he kills a Pole for the first time, his few remaining scruples fade away, and he enthusiastically participates in mass arrests and on-the-spot executions. His repellent life is blunted by dimwittedness and alcohol, his home life is a shambles, and the village priest is bafflingly unsympathetic. Eventually the Polish resistance zeros in on this pathetic opportunist. This Andrzej Wajda work for Polish television is the harshest answer yet to those critics who say that Polish film must more fully face up to every aspect of the country's past. It will remind some of Louis Malle's "Lacombe, Lucien," another story of a doomed fool who realizes, too late, the cost of his treason. But in his pathetic humanity, Franciszek Klos reminds us more of Gyppo, the alcoholic, sell-out IRA man in John Ford's "The Informer." Wajda's staging and camerawork, as classic as Ford's, derive from a similar Catholic sense of moral certitude and inevitable punishment.

Director's Filmography
Andrzej Wajda Born 1926 in Suwalki, Poland, Wajda studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow from 1946-50, and later graduated from the State Film School in Lódz. His feature debut was A Generation (1954). From 1972-1983, Wajda was the artistic manager of Zespóly Filmowe, Warsaw. During the same period, he also held the position of President of the Association of Polish Filmmakers. Between 1989 and 1990, Wajda was the managing director of Powszechny Theatre in Warsaw. He became a senator from 1989-1991. Since 1997 he has been a member of Institute de France Academie des Beaux-Arts. Wajda is also a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), Germany's Akademie der Künste, and an honorary member of British Film and Television Academy (BAFTA). His films have won numerous prizes at film festivals in Berlin, Venice, Valladolid and Moscow. Three of his films: The Promised Land, The Maids of Wilko, and Man of Iron were nominated for Academy Awards. His awards and medals include the French Legion of Honour, the European Film Academy's "Felix" Award (1990), the Silver Bear in Berlin (1996), the Golden Lion in Venice (1998), the Polish Film Award, and the Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement ("Oscar") in 2000. In 1987, the Inamori Foundation gave him the Kyoto Prize. With the proceeds, he built the Centre of Japanese Art and Technology "Manggha," in Cracow. Wajda was the recipient of the American Cinema Foundation's Freedom Award in 1999. As a theatre director he co-operates with the Stary Theatre in Cracow.


A Generation / Eine Generation / Pokolenie (1954)
I Go Towards The Sun / Ide ku sloncu (1955)
Canal / Der Kanal / Kanal (1956)
Ashes and Diamonds / Asche und Diamant / Popiól i diament (1958)
Lotna (1959)
Innocent Sorcerers / Die unschüldigen Zauberer / Niewinni czarodzieje (1960)
Samson (1961)
Siberian Lady Macbeth aka Fury Is a Woman / Blut der Leidenschaft aka Lady Macbeth aus Sibirien / Sibirska Ledi Magbet (1962)
Love At Twenty (segment "Milosc dwudziestolatków") / Liebe mit zwanzig: segment "Warschau" / Milosc dwudziestolatkow (1962)
Ashes / Legionäre (Aschen) / Popioly (1965)
Gates to Paradise / Die Pforten des Paradieses / Vrata raja (1967)
Roly Poly aka Layer Cake / Organitäten / Przekladaniec (1968, TV)
Everything for Sale / Alles zu Verkaufen / Wszystko na sprzedaz (1969), Hunting Flies / Jagd auf Fliegen / Polowanie na muchy (1969)
Landscape After Battle / Landschaft nach der Schlacht / Krajobraz po bitwie (1970)
The Birch Wood / Der Birkenwald / Brzezina (1970)
Pilate and Others / Pilatus und anderen - ein Film für Karfreitag / Pilat i inni (1972, TV), The Wedding / Die Hochzeit / Wesele (1973)
The Promised Land / Das gelobte Land / Ziemia obiecana (1974)
The Shadow Line / Die Schattenlinie / Smuga cienia (1976)
Man of Marble / Mann aus Marmor / Czlowiek z marmuru (1977)
Invitation To the Inside / Einladung zur Besichtigung von Inneräumen / Zaproszenie do wnetrza (1977), Without Anesthetic / Ohne Betäubung / Bez znieczulenia (1978)
The Maids of Wilko / Die Mädchen aus Wilko / Panny z Wilka (1979)
The Orchestra Conductor / Der Dirigent / Dyrygent (1980)
Man of Iron / Mann aus Eisen / Czlowiek z zelaza (1981)
Danton (1983)
A Love in Germany / Eine Liebe in Deutschland / Milosc w Niemczech (1983)
Chronicle of Amorous Incidents / Chronik einiger Liebesunfälle / Kronika wypadków milosnych (1986)
The Possessed / Die Dämonen/ Les Possédés / Biesy (1988), Korczak (1990)
The Ring with a Crowned Eagle / Ring mit Geknöntem Adler / Pierscionek z orlem w koronie (1992)
Nastasja (1994)
Holy Week / Karwoche / Wielki tydzien (1995)
Miss Nobody / Fräulein Niemand / Panna Nikt (1996)
Pan Tadeusz (1999)
Condemnation of Francisezk Klos / Verurteilung des Franciszek Klos / Wyrok na Franciszka Klosa (2000, TV)


A Place on Earth

A Place on Earth

125 min., 35mm Black and white
Language: Russian with English subtitles

Director: Artur Aristakisyan
Screenplay: Artur Aristakisyan, Irina Shubina
Director of Photography: Grigory Yablochnikov
Music: Robert Wyatt, Vincenzo Bellini
Editor: Natalia Tapkova, Natalia Sazhina
Production: Ministry of Culture of Russia, "ABA" Studio, New Cinema Fund
Producer: Alexander Eliasberg
Cast: Anna Chernova, Vitaliy Khaev, Nonna Grishaeva, Inna Verbitskaya, Roman Atlasov

Contact: Polina Zhuravleva, Intercinema-Art Agency Druzhinnikovskaya 15
123242 Moscow, Russia
Tel.: +7 095 255 9082
Fax: + 7 095 255 9052

Ein Platz auf der Erde
Mesto na Zemle
(Russia, 2001)

About the Film
Director Artur Aristakisyan works in a film form that is immediately recognizable to lovers of art film everywhere, yet his philosophical ideas take Russian film into a completely new direction: he asks whether it is madness to suggest that society might be re-made on a model of loving and self sacrifice. The charismatic leader of a fictional Moscow commune seems at first to be a familiar type-an idealistic hippie and holy fool. His need to challenge every restraint, every convention of the modern social order eventually leads to tragic results. The little band of outcasts creates its own circle of nirvana and madness but can't escape the outside world, which intrudes at will. Winner of the 2001 Freedom Award at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival.

Director's Filmography
Artur Aristakisyan. Born 1966, Kishinev, Moldova. While this is only Aristakisyan's second film, he is a singular artist, and his potential to be a leading visionary filmmaker is clear. It took him eight years to enter the Moscow Film School (VGIK). His professor there allowed him to work independently instead of attending classes. The result, Palms (Ladoni, 1994) won the Nika (Russian "Oscar") for best documentary, a prize for its contribution to cinema language in Taormina, the Forum Grand Prix and Wolfgang-Staudte-Filmpreis in Berlin. A Place On Earth (Mesto na Zemle) was selected for screening at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival. Both his films were selected for the Quinzaine des réalisateurs at the Cannes Film Festival.


Singing On The Treadmill

Singing on the Treadmill

76 min., 35mm Color
Language: Hungarian with English subtitles

Director: Gyula Gazdag
Screenplay: Gazdag, Miklós Györffy
Director of photography: Elemér Ragályi
Music: arranged by Ferenc Gyulai Gaál
Editor: Zsuzsa Csákányi, Gazdag
Production Design: József Romvári
Production: Hunnia Filmstúdió, Mafilm
Producer: Tibor Dimény
Cast: Evald Schorm, István Iglódi, Lili Monori, Róbert Koltai, Judit Pogány

Contact: Gyula Gazdag c/o
UCLA Dept of Film,
TV and Digital Media
405 Hilgard Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90095
Tel.: +1 310 206-6896
Fax: +1 310 825-3383

Zwei Herren im Drei-Viertel-Takt
Bástyasétány 74
(Hungary, 1974)

About the Film
Boldly mocking the pretensions of 1950s socialist realism, and lampooning film conventions Eastern and Western, "Singing on the Treadmill" is the absurdist adventure of four greedy, mutually suspicious couples who are given joint ownership of a dilapidated house. In a middle-class American comedy, they'd learn to overcome their differences, pull the house together as a team, and instantly turn it into a profit-making showplace before the closing credits. But this is Communist Hungary, where the new laws of the state run aground on the old laws of human nature… Gazdag's thoughtful critique of everyday socialism in "The Whistling Cobblestone," expressed in formal, black and white camerawork, is here replaced with color, satire, surrealism, and open skepticism about Marxist man's ability to live up to his own political ideals.

Director's Filmography
Gyula Gazdag is one of Hungary's and America's treasures, as both a filmmaker and as a catalyst for production. He is professor and former vice-chair of production at UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television; and Artistic director at the Sundance Institute's Filmmakers Lab in Utah, and their Central European Screenwriting Institute. From 1990-1993 he was Head of the Department of Film and Television at the Hungarian Academy of Theatre, Film and Television, where he taught from1985. From his first production, Gazdag applied a delicate sense of humor and appreciation of human foibles to everyday situations in his films, which often resulted in their being kept from public view. In the years since, the Hungarian government has shown its appreciation by awarding him the Béla Balázs Award in 1987, Artist of Merit in 1989, and the Official Cross of the Hungarian Republic for artistic achievement in 1997.


The Long Distance Runner / Der Langenstreckenläufer / Hosszú futásodra mindig számíthatunk (1969)
The Selection / Die Auswahl / A Válogatás (1970) Banned for public screenings until 1982);
The Whistling Cobblestone / Der Quickende Pflasterstein / A Sípoló macskakö (1971*) Banned from public screenings until 1979*
The Resolution / Der Beschlusse / A Határozat (1972) Banned from public screenings until 1984
Singing on the Treadmill / Zwei Herren in Drei-Viertel-takt / Bástyasétány 74 (1974**) Banned for public screenings until 1984**
Swap / Der Tausch / A kétfenekõ dob (1977)
The Long Distance Runner II / Der Langenstreckenläufer II / Hosszú futásodra mindig számíthatunk II. (1977) Banned before being finished
Lost Illusions / Verlorene Illusionen / Elveszett illúziók (1982)
The Banquet / Das Bankett / A Bankett (1979) Banned from public screenings until 1982
Package Tour / Die Gruppenreise / Társasutazás (1984)
A Hungarian Fairy Tale / Ein ungarisches Märchen / Hol volt, hol nem volt (1987)
Stand Off / Eine Geiselgeschichte / Túsztõrténet (1988, USA)
Hungarian Chronicles / Chroniques hongroises I-II. (1991,)
A Poet on the Lower East Side: A Docu-Diary on Allen Ginsberg (1997, USA)


True Stories

True Stories

80 min., 35mm Black and white
Language: Russian with English subtitles

Director: Murad M. Ibragimbekov
Screenplay: Yaroslava Sergieva (from Mikhail Zoschenko)
Director of Photography: Vladimir Dmitrievski
Music: Isaak Shvarts
Editor: Galina Dyakonova
Production Design: Alexander Zarkov
Production: Ibrus, with AGA, Brocard, Azerbaijan Ministry of Youth and Sport
Producer: Mirza-Aga Ashumov
Cast: Vladimir Steklov, Kristina Orbakaite, Ludmila Polyakova, Alexei Zharkov, Sergei Nikonenko, Sergei Rubenko

Contact: (International)
Murad Ibragimbekov, Ibrus
11 Maly Kozikhinsky per., 103001 Moscow Russia
Tel.: +7 095 299 7020
Fax: +7 095 299 3880

Contact: (Germany) Uta Ganschow,
Twenty-Twenty Vision
Nipkow Programm
Kurfürstendamm 225, D-10719 Berlin Germany
Tel.: +49 30 18142838
Fax: +49 30 6142826

Wahre Geschichten
Istinnye Proissestvija
(Azerbaijan/Russia, 2000)

About the Film
Young Azeri director Murad Ibragimbekov imagines the well-known stories of Lenin-era satirist Mikhail Zoschenko as an early sound film. Like a dream of 1920s Moscow, "True Stories" drifts between an interlocking group of big city characters: an electrician; a langorous beauty; a squad of troublesome bureaucrats. When Vladimir Lenin drops by the local barber shop for a quick trim, he speaks only in speechmaking cliches, declaiming with the scratchy voice of a period gramophone… Morgue attendants, after prolonged exposure to government truth, are no longer able to distinguish between living and dead people... Ibragimbekov has a delightful sense of visual and aural humor that complements Zoschenko's verbal wit, and often conveys a sense of political or historical reference that seems wise beyond his years. Presented in cooperation with the Nipkow Program.

Director's Filmography
Murad Ibragimbekov was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, in 1965. He graduated from the Moscow Film School (VGIK) in 1989, where he was in I. Talankin's workshop.


Rusya (1987, short)
One For Everybody (1988, short)
Dunduklei (1989, short)
Waltz of the Golden Calf (Wals colotjach telzow, 1992)
A Man for a Young Woman (Muzhchina dlya molodoj devushki, 1996)
True Stories / Wahre Geschichten (Istinnye Proissestvija, 2000)


Velvet Hangover

Velvet Hangover

144 min., Beta SP Color
Language: English, and Czech with English subtitles

Director: Robert Buchar, David Smith
Director of Photography: Robert Buchar
Editor: Robert Buchar
Production: Hangover Productions
Producer: Robert Buchar
Cast: Jaroslav Boucek, Jaroslav Brabec, Vera Chytilová, Sasa Gedeon, Jiri Krejcik, Antonín Mása, Jiri Menzel, Stanislav Milota, Jan Nemec, Ivan Passer, Jan Sverák, Karel Vachek, Drahomírá Vihanová, Zuzana Zemanová

Contact: (International) Josh Thorson, festival coordinator The Cinema Guild
130 Madison Avenue, 2 nd Floor
New York, NY 10018-7038 USA
Tel.: +1 212 685 6242
Fax: +1 212 685 4717

Contact: (Czech Republic, Slovak Republic)
Robert Buchar, Hangover Productions
2232 Grandview Place
Grandview, IL 60025 USA
Tel. / Fax: +1 847 486 8035

Sametová kocovina
(USA, 2000)

About the Film
For most people in western Europe and the United States, the Czech New Wave of the mid- to late 1960s is what put this central European nation on the map of major filmmaking cultures. Among Czech directors who maintain a commitment to high art to this day, there is a sense that that time represented a rare marriage of artistic freedom and civic purpose. For others, there only remains the undeniable nostalgia for an extraordinary period in film and in European history. This documentary, by Robert Buchar and David Smith, interviews many of the leading talents of the 1960s and 70s, giving them a chance to define, themselves, just what it was that made those times so special, and how they seemed to come to an end-first by invasion of Soviet tanks, and then twenty years later by an invasion of Hollywood films and other world media. Vera Chytilova, Jiri Menzel, Ivan Passer, Drahomira Vihanova and many others speak for the interest of history.

Director's Filmography: Robert Buchar
Robert Buchar graduated from FAMU, Prague in 1975 and shot 15 films before defecting to the U.S. in 1980. A year later he photographed the award-winning short Basic Meditation Exercise, directed by George Drasnar. Buchar worked as a videographer for CBS until 1989 when he was invited to develop the cinematography program at Columbia College in Chicago. He currently directs that program, and works as director of photography on independent films and commercials. Velvet Hangover is his feature film debut as a director. He is also the author of the accompanying book "Sametová kocovina." Films by Robert Buchar: Bear Not to Be (1968); Certainly (1969); The Club (1971); In the Sign of Eagle (1978); The Comets (1979); City in the Center of the City (1979); Etology of Animals (1980); Go West-Sing West (1991); Where are you (1992); The Land of Youth (1992); Granny (1998)

Director's Filmography: David Smith
David Smith began his film career as an actor. In 1990 he took a vacation to the Czech Republic and stayed for four years. While there, he made several short documentaries that were broadcast on Czech television. After returning to the U.S. in 1994, he met Robert Buchar at Columbia College, where Smith is an MFA candidate. Velvet Hangover is his feature film debut.


The Whistling Cobblestone

The Whistling Cobblestone

96 min., 35mm Black and white
Language: Hungarian with English subtitles

Director: Gyula Gazdag
Screenplay: Gazdag, Miklós Györffy
Director of Photography: Tamás Andor
Music: original music by Lajos Illés
Editor: Gazdag, Annamaria Szanto (Komlóssy)
Production Design: József Romvári
Production: Stúdió 2, Mafilm
Producer: Tibor Dimény
Cast: Zoltán Paulinyi, János Atkári, András, Monory Mész, Gábor Gergely, Balázs Györe, János Bozsogi, János Xantus, Jean-Pierre Faloux

Contact: Gyula Gazdag c/o
UCLA Dept of Film,
TV and Digital Media
405 Hilgard Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90095
Tel.: +1 310 206-6896
Fax: +1 310 825-3383

Der Quickende Pflasterstein
A Sípoló macskakö
(Hungary, 1971)

About the Film
One of the key Hungarian films of the post-1968 era, "The Whistling Cobblestone" is a well-remembered national favorite. At a summer work camp for teenage boys, an earnest teacher struggles to find the truth in the social (and socialist) values he tries to impart to his students. The cobblestone of the title is a souvenir of the 1968 Paris riots, presented to the boys by one of the camp's visitors, a French agitator who is bemused by a look at "really existing socialism." Despite the film's casual setting, the ideas it grapples with are serious, and not limited to Communist societies. Director Gyula Gazdag seems to ask: What do we owe each other as citizens? What do the younger and older generations owe each other?

Central Europe's version of the youth culture of the sixties and seventies has rarely been seen in such vivid, naturalistic ways. The Hungarian boys learning about adult life are awkward, hot-tempered, impatient and idealistic; Gyula Gazdag, only twenty-four when he directed "Cobblestone," shares their idealism, but has already learned to express himself politically with maturity and style.


Bear Not to Be (1968)
Certainly (1969)
The Club (1971)
In the Sign of Eagle (1978)
The Comets (1979)
City in the Center of the City (1979)
Etology of Animals (1980)
Go West-Sing West (1991)
Where are you (1992)
The Land of Youth (1992)
Granny (1998)

David Smith began his film career as an actor. In 1990 he took a vacation to the Czech Republic and stayed for four years. While there, he made several short documentaries that were broadcast on Czech television. After returning to the U.S. in 1994, he met Robert Buchar at Columbia College, where Smith is an MFA candidate. Velvet Hangover is his feature film debut.