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Synopsis

Set in Hungary sometime between 1949 and 1956, „The Witness” is a pitch-dark satirical comedy that fiercely ridicules the absurd power apparatus and paranoid atmosphere of the totalitarian regime. Faced with severe food shortages and trying to save his large family from starvation, the simple dike keeper József Pelikán has no other option but to kill his pig, which he has saved from collectivisation by hiding it literally underground. Unable to keep the illegal slaughter from the ears of vigilant informers, Pelikán lands behind bars. But instead of being punished, Pelikán finds himself entrapped in political intrigues. Under the aegis of comrade Virág, a local functionary, Pelikán is promoted to increasingly higher offices, despite the fact he miserably fails in every new position. In return to these baffling privileges, Pelikán is expected to deliver a fabricated testimony at a high-profile show trial held against his old friend, a politician fallen from the grace of the authorities.

The film was digitally remastered by the Hungarian Filmlab in 2011. The film is part of the Hungarian National Film Fund – Film Archive’s collection where the 35mm original negatives are being kept.

Director
Péter Bacsó

(1928 – 2009) was a Hungarian film director and screenwriter.

He was a successful screenwriter during the 1950s before beginning to direct films a decade later. He made his first feature film, “Nyáron egyszerű” in 1963. He made his most famous film, “The Witness” in 1969, but it was banned at the time and wasn't released until 1979. The film became a cult classic in Hungary; it is a political satire about the early-1950s Communist regime. Bacsó later continued to make mostly political and satirical films, for a wider audience. 

 

Filmography
  • A tanú (1969)
  • Forró vizet a kopaszra! (1972)
  • Riasztólövés (1977)
  • Tegnapelött (1982)
  • Sztálin menyasszonya (1991)
  • Hamvadó cigarettavég (2001)
  • Majdnem szüz (2008  )
Thu, 22.11.2018
6:45 pm
Tallinn, 
Kino Artis
Hall 2
071506
Subtitles: 
ENG
Screening code: 071506
Movie guests
Presenter Gyorgy Raduly
Screenings with guests might end later than expected.
Film info
Country: Hungary
Year: 1969
Duration: 105 minutes
Language: Hungarian
Director: Péter Bacsó
Writers:  Péter Bacsó, János Ujhelyi
DOP: János Zsombolyai
Montage: Sándor Boronkay
Composers: Szabolcs Fényes, György Vukán
Cast: Ferenc Kállai, Lajos Öze, Béla Both
Festivals: Set in Hungary sometime between 1949 and 1956, „The Witness” is a pitch-dark satirical comedy that fiercely ridicules the absurd power apparatus and paranoid atmosphere of the totalitarian regime. Faced with severe food shortages and trying to save his large family from starvation, the simple dike keeper József Pelikán has no other option but to kill his pig, which he has saved from collectivisation by hiding it literally underground. Unable to keep the illegal slaughter from the ears of vigilant informers, Pelikán lands behind bars. But instead of being punished, Pelikán finds himself entrapped in political intrigues. Under the aegis of comrade Virág, a local functionary, Pelikán is promoted to increasingly higher offices, despite the fact he miserably fails in every new position. In return to these baffling privileges, Pelikán is expected to deliver a fabricated testimony at a high-profile show trial held against his old friend, a politician fallen from the grace of the authorities. The film was digitally remastered by the Hungarian Filmlab in 2011. The film is part of the Hungarian National Film Fund – Film Archive’s collection where the 35mm original negatives are being kept.
Synopsis

Set in Hungary sometime between 1949 and 1956, „The Witness” is a pitch-dark satirical comedy that fiercely ridicules the absurd power apparatus and paranoid atmosphere of the totalitarian regime. Faced with severe food shortages and trying to save his large family from starvation, the simple dike keeper József Pelikán has no other option but to kill his pig, which he has saved from collectivisation by hiding it literally underground. Unable to keep the illegal slaughter from the ears of vigilant informers, Pelikán lands behind bars. But instead of being punished, Pelikán finds himself entrapped in political intrigues. Under the aegis of comrade Virág, a local functionary, Pelikán is promoted to increasingly higher offices, despite the fact he miserably fails in every new position. In return to these baffling privileges, Pelikán is expected to deliver a fabricated testimony at a high-profile show trial held against his old friend, a politician fallen from the grace of the authorities.

The film was digitally remastered by the Hungarian Filmlab in 2011. The film is part of the Hungarian National Film Fund – Film Archive’s collection where the 35mm original negatives are being kept.

Director
Péter Bacsó

(1928 – 2009) was a Hungarian film director and screenwriter.

He was a successful screenwriter during the 1950s before beginning to direct films a decade later. He made his first feature film, “Nyáron egyszerű” in 1963. He made his most famous film, “The Witness” in 1969, but it was banned at the time and wasn't released until 1979. The film became a cult classic in Hungary; it is a political satire about the early-1950s Communist regime. Bacsó later continued to make mostly political and satirical films, for a wider audience. 

 

Filmography
  • A tanú (1969)
  • Forró vizet a kopaszra! (1972)
  • Riasztólövés (1977)
  • Tegnapelött (1982)
  • Sztálin menyasszonya (1991)
  • Hamvadó cigarettavég (2001)
  • Majdnem szüz (2008  )