blogEast is a project of goEast – Festival of Central and Eastern European Film. The blog was created during the first Corona wave in Europe as a solidary mouthpiece for film (culture) creators from all over Europe. In the coming weeks, blog posts will be published that highlight cinematic as well as political and social facets of today's situation, but also offer a way to distract from the omnipresent discussion about infection figures and vaccination progress. blogEast is supervised and edited by the goEast team and accompanies the digital festival in Wiesbaden.
„Hungarofuturism (HUF) is a mythofiction and aesthetic strategy designed to condition cultural memory. Nationalist ideology has occupied and co-opted our national and historical myths, therefore we must take them back, so as to rebuild the progressive forms of thinking Hungarianness."1
Hungarofuturism, both an aesthetic strategy and a cultural movement, was founded in response to the growing influence of the national conservative government of Viktor Orban on the Art and Culture scene in 2017. The most recent example of the FIDESZ-government's continuous efforts to take over cultural institutions and reshape them based on the party's cultural policies, is the attempted takeover of the University of Theatre and Film in Budapest (SFZE) by a board of directors appointed by government in September 2020. The cultural funding provided by the continuing Orbanisation and centralisation of Hungary's institutions, has been made increasingly difficult for artists to access, or almost impossible if they challenge the FIDESZ national-conservative values or their work contain serious criticisms.
Hungarofuturism, a movement directly inspired by Afrofuturism, was launched through the publication of the previously cited Hungarofuturist Manifesto, which was co-written by Hungarian poet Mario Z. Nemes. The manifesto proposes alternative ways of being Hungarian through the discovery of post-Hungarianism, as opposed to the discourse that Hungarians are descendant of aliens from Sirius. This theory has been particularly popular with Hungary's right wing parties. In Nemes' poetry collection BAROKK FEMINA, published in 2019, he attempted to reflect, appropriate and recontextualize Hungaruan cultural memory, starting from the riots on the 50th anniversary of the popular uprising in 1956. In 2020, the Hungarian experimental filmmaker Peter Lichter decided to adapt parts of Nemes' BAROKK FEMINA and created an eponymous film with 66-minute found footage, which will celebrate its German premiere in the Bioscop section at goEast.
The Dadaistic collage combines Nemes' verses with newsreels that come from several archives, scenes from classic Hollywood and European arthouse films as well as video footage from YouTube. Peter Lichter successfully approached and incorporated archival materials, manipulated the original artwork by using various cinematic techniques such as montage and a cross-fade transition to tell the story. He also resorts to aesthetic strategies of desktop documentaries and material film. He uses screen recordings to document his artistic process and painting on the film with the help of digital tools, following on his practice with analog film in previous works like THE RUB (2018) or THE PHILOSOPHY OF HORROR (2019). The baroque flamboyance of images and the diverse styles demonstrate how absurd the idea of a uniform national culture without foreign influences is.
Looking at the cultural policy in Hungary, found footage film offers not only aesthetic, but also political and economic potential. Due to the low production cost, which is mainly to cover the expenses on editing software licenses and, if applicable, copyrighted materials, it allows independent filmmaking apart from or even against the national-conservative art doctrine of the government of Viktor Orban.
BAROKK FEMINA will be available starting April 20th 12 AM CET at online.filmfestival-goeast.de as part of the On Demand programme. All information about the festival and frequently asked questions can be found in our FAQ.