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The Cinema of István SzabóVisions of Europe$
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John Cunningham

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231171991

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231171991.001.0001

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Tales from Mitteleuropa:

Tales from Mitteleuropa:

Mephisto; Colonel Redl; Hanussen

(p.54) Chapter Five Tales from Mitteleuropa:
The Cinema of István Szabó

John Cunningham

Columbia University Press

This chapter focuses on Hungarian director István Szabó's so-called Mitteleuropa trilogy: Mephisto (1981), Colonel Redl (1985), and Hanussen (1988). Szabó has protested against the widely held assumption that Mephisto, Colonel Redl, and Hanussen make up a trilogy. They nevertheless share a number of important elements, thematically, historically, stylistically and in terms of personnel. Whether taken as a whole or considered separately, these three feature films constitute a major cinematic examination, treatment and engagement with the individual and his or her place within the troubled history of Central Europe. The films are also a consolidation and development of the shift away from a mode of filmmaking which worked within and sometimes experimented with various forms of New Wave and modernist practices, to a more transparent and linear style which hovers somewhere between classical Hollywood, commercial art cinema, literary adaptation and, at times, historical costume drama.

Keywords:   Mitteleuropa trilogy, Mephisto, Colonel Redl, Hanussen, Central Europe, Hollywood, commercial art cinema, literary adaptation

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