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Two Hungarians on BBC List of 100 Greatest Films Directed by Women

Fanni Kaszás 2019.11.27.

BBC Culture polled 368 film experts from 84 countries in order to find the best films from female filmmakers and compiled a list of the top 100. Two Hungarian films also made it to the list: Márta Mészáros’ ‘Adoption’ from 1975 was listed 97th, while Ildikó Enyedi’s Oscar nominated film, ‘On Body and Soul’ is 73rd on the list. 

In the poll, 761 different films were voted for by film experts (critics, journalists, festival programmers, and academics), with the same number of men and women from around the world to vote on their favorite 10 films. BBC Culture then compiled a list of the 100 greatest films directed by women.

Films like The Piano by Jane Campion (1993), Agnès Varda’s Cléo from 5 to 7 (1962), and Chantal Akerman’s 1975 film Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles finished in the top 3, but two Hungarian films were also included in the collection of films that demonstrates the power, creativity, and diversity of cinema made by women around the world.

Ildikó Enyedi’s On Body and Soul, which was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards in 2018, finished in 73rd place on the list. The film tells the story of two people working at a slaughterhouse in Budapest who discover that they have the same dreams at night, and then attempt to make them come true. The film won the Grand Prix (Golden Bear) at the Berlinale in 2017, as well as the top prize at the Sydney Film Festival, while its leading actress Alexandra Borbély won ‘Best European Actress’ at the European Film Awards, a distinction she received for her role in Enyedi’s film. Rights for the film were acquired in more than 90 countries; in the US, Netflix has screened it since February 2018.

“We’ll Come Back with the Next Film”: Hungary’s ‘On Body and Soul’ Misses Oscar Win, Ending Two-Year Award Streak

Márta Mészáros’ Adoption from 1975 finished in 97th place. The film was featured at the 25th festival in West Berlin in 1975 and brought massive success to both the director and Hungarian film-making in general.

Adoption was the first Hungarian film to compete in Berlin, immediately winning the Golden Bear for Best Film, while at the same time making Márta Mészáros the first female director to ever be awarded the prize. Adoption is Mészáros’ fifth film, in which she speaks about the opportunities and relationships of women; about loneliness, the lies involved in relations between men and women, vulnerability, and about life within institutions.

featured photo: Zsolt Szigetváry/MTI