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Conflict and Controversy in Small Cinemas

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Edited By Janina Falkowska and Krzysztof Loska

This book examines small cinemas and their presentation of society in times of crisis and conflict from an interdisciplinary and intercultural point of view. The authors concentrate on economic, social and political challenges and point to new phenomena which have been exposed by film directors. They present essays on, among others, Basque cinema; gendered controversies in post-communist small cinemas in Slovakia and Czech Republic; ethnic stereotypes in the works of Polish filmmakers; stereotypical representation of women in Japanese avant-garde; post-communist political myths in Hungary; the separatist movements of Catalonia; people in diasporas and during migrations. In view of these timely topics, the book touches on the most serious social and political problems. The films discussed provide an excellent platform for enhancing debates on politics, gender, migration and new aesthetics in cinema at departments of history, sociology, literature and film.

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16. De-centered subversion: Hukkle and the challenging of revisionist historiography (Phil Mann)

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Phil Mann

University of St Andrews

16. De-centered subversion: Hukkle and the challenging of revisionist historiography

Abstract: This chapter explores how Hungarian filmmaker György Pálfi, in his debut feature film Hukkle (2002), challenges restorative nostalgia in post-communist Hungary. Through the film’s penetrative and, at times, subterranean cinematography, Pálfi creates a visual metaphor inviting his audience to look beyond the surface of the film’s ostensibly idyllic rural imagery to reveal a more disagreeable reality that lies beneath this façade. I argue that Hukkle’s aesthetic constitution serves as a metaphor used to confront post-communist nostalgia, suggesting a need to challenge the rose-tinted myths of collective memory and engage with the darker issues of the past that underlie the more palatable and socially agreeable renderings of history that have come to dominate contemporary historical discourse in Hungary.

Keywords: Hukkle, Pálfi, Hungary, post-communism, history, memory, political myths, restorative nostalgia

In his winning proposal for the design of Budapest’s Memento Park (Szoborpark)1, Hungarian architect Ákos Eleőd stated that: “Every violent form of society formalises the need and the right to reanalyse, touch up and appropriate their own past in order to shine favourable light on the ‘historical necessity’ of their regime. Democracy is the only regime which is capable of looking back to its past, with all its mistakes and wrong turns, with its head up”2. Eleőd speaks of the potential for...

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