literature, cinema, fine arts

The Vulture (Dögkeselyű, 1982)

120 years of Hungarian cinema

  • Produced by Müpa Budapest
  • Müpacinema

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The writer Miklós Munkácsi passed away in January 2021. A memorial service was held. But fewer and fewer people remember his works, even though he was read and loved by many, many people for a good 20 years or so, beginning in the 1970s. One of his finest novels, A kihívás (The Challenge, 1981), formed the basis for Ferenc András's film Dögkeselyű (The Vulture). It is a story of crime, revenge. Actually, sorry, it is more than that. It is a hard-nosed report from an era in Hungary where the oppression by the powers-that-be was easing, and the active 'self-exploitation' of the generations had begun. An era where the limits of criminal behaviour began to become blurred, and all we could say is: great.

We laughed heartily at Ferenc András's 1977 film, Rain and Shine (Veri az ördög a feleségét), yet it was also a deadly serious report on the confusion of values. Five years on, he expresses this thought with such harshness that the final scene was tactfully cut in several countries. The film is no softer for it, however. With György Cserhalmi's incredibly precise portrayal, there is drama from the first minute to the last. And even today, as you exit the cinema you are left confused. Is József Simon, the engineer turned taxi driver, simply out for revenge? Or is he a delivery of justice? Or some kind of Hungarian Michael Kohlhaas, trying to reclaim his trampled pride/dignity? Does he wish to regain his esteem at any price? It is unclear what kind of meaning, 40 years on, today's viewer will see in him. The Vulture is well worth watching, and it has stood the test of time. There is no question that György Cserhalmi's lines about the vulture take on a new meaning in the present day, but they do have meaning. Elemér Ragályi's images remain incredibly powerful. The street names, car brands and uniforms have changed, yet the human, moral dilemmas have lost none of their power. Afficianados of Hungarian cinema will love the role played by Zita Perczel, who returned home to make the film. If you don't know who she is, just keep an eye out for Simon's dad's TV. The film The Dream Car is playing, with Zita Perczel in the starring role. Though there is no doubt that the automobiles whizzing along the roads of Budapest are far from the car of your dreams.

In Hungarian, without subtitles.
The discussions before and after the screening will be conducted in Hungarian.

Presented by: Müpa Budapest
  • Host
    Janka Barkóczi
  • Director
    Ferenc András

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