OSA | Visions after the Fall: Program

Visions after the Fall: Museums, Archives and Cinema in Reshaping Popular Perceptions of the Socialist Past

Gábor Zsigmond Papp: Life of an Agent in the making

The presentation addresses the research and the making of the film The Life of an Agent / Az ügynök élete which I made in 2004, using film material found in the archive of the Ministry of the Interior in Hungary. Hundreds of propaganda and instructional films as well as short and full-length features were produced by the Ministry's own film studio between 1958 and 1988. These films sought to teach the secret police the best ways to protect the socialist state. Topics included the clandestine house-search, the operative shadowing of selected targets, the installation of tapping devices, and the organization of agents and denouncers. The plain and straightforward narration of the films is slightly out of step with their serious patriotic aims, and modern viewers will be astonished by the amount of money, time and energy devoted to a form of ideological education which was both complex and expensive. This selection neatly illustrates how the coercive organization of Kádár's dictatorship worked, and what major motives lay behind it.

Gábor Zsigmond Papp, filmmaker, Budapest, Hungary. Graduated from ELTE, Budapest, with degree in history and literature in 1986-1992, and in 1993-1996 studied in Hungarian Film Academy of Budapest, where he received degree in directing short films, documentaries, videoclips. Among his films are The Legend (1994, Award of the Jury on the Sopot Filmfestival 1994); Tandori (1996, Award of the Best Portrait on the Famalicao Filmfestival 2000); The Last Days of the College – History of the Eötvös College - (1996); Kazo (1997), Budapest Retro (1998); Supper with Péter Esterházy (2000, Award of the Best Documentary on the Senzor Filmfestival 2000); In My Adolescence – The History of the Gorkij High School (2000); Göncz I-II – Portrait of the ex-president (2001-2002); Budapest retro 2 (2003); The School of the Empire - The History of the German Empire School (2003, Award of the Best Documentary and Best Photography on the 35. Hungarian Filmweek 2004); The Life of the Agent – from the Archives of the Communist Secret Police (2004). Gábor Zsigmond Papp is invited to make a presentation on the use of archival footage previously classified as ‘state secret' in contemporary documentary using his latest film The Life of the Agent made on the basis of archival footage from the Hungarian Secret Police, 1958-1988.

« Back

Date: June 10, Saturday

Time: 4.30-5 pm



© 1995-2012 OSA Archivum at Central European University