THE IMAGES OF A THOUSAND WORDS
THE CINEMA OF MÁRTA MÉSZÁROS
Belonging to the generation of female filmmakers that—like Mai Zetterling, Liliana Cavani and Agnès Varda, amongst others—appeared in the film production sector in the mid-20th century, Márta Mészáros creates her film, sharing with them a radical passion for imagery, with feeling and narratives that are capable of capturing the everyday emotions that reflect life itself.
It is amazing to review her work today and see the perfect construction and articulation that the time and space of the composition create in her narratives. The precision of her magnificent framing, the extraordinarily brilliant use of tracking shots with camera dollies that accompany the characters or present them, or using them to circle around a conversation, rejecting the stale shot/reverse sequence, the first shots of characters in scenes of respectful intimacy… A camera that is hostile to the show and hungry for expressivity.
And through this framework, she tackles matters such as sexuality, paid work, the domestic space, maternity, intergenerational relationships that are not at all canonised, visualisation of complicities and empathy between characters outside the system, as a form of radical resistance in order to live their live freely and as they wish; to all of this Mészáros lends her time.
We see females working in factories, in kitchens, in the fields, in offices, in institutions. The daily lives of her characters accompany and form an organic part of their stories. Her—almost exclusively female—stars are also there to give us an account of official history, in this case, that of Hungary, discussing its arrogance and dogmatism from a personal perspective, which is also political. Women face a present full of prejudices in the successive decades during which she creates her filmography and they tackle them radically with decisions that go against the tide without any need for proclamations or argument. She simply states the facts through delicate, indisputable, pragmatic film feminism.
Her films have been valued and awarded by diverse international festivals and rescued at different times, when forgetfulness was setting in, by those who have especially showcased filmographies by female filmmakers, such as Créteil International Women’s Film Festival. Now, ZINEBI is showing her work and career in an essential tribute to a person who was and is a master of film. Thank you.
Marta Selva Masoliver
Barcelona International Women’s Film Festival