The Undesirable / A tolonc

Date: 20 April
Time: 17:00
Venue:  Cinematek
Baron Horta 9. 1000 Bruxelles

The Undesirable - A tolonc

Michael Curtiz (Mihály Kertész), HU, 1915, Lili Berky, Victor Varconi, Mari Jászai
⁄ BW ⁄ 67' ⁄ OvST: FR - NL

The opening movie of the Hungarian film retrospective organized in cooperation with the CINEMATEK  is one of the many lost films of Hungary’s golden age of silent film. This hundred-year-old silent film was discovered in the basement of the Hungarian House, a cultural Center in New York City. How it got there is still unknown, but great efforts have been made to return the film to its homeland.

The movie will be screened according to the traditions of the silent film era, with live piano accompaniment by Péter Mekis, Hungarian pianist.

The film is the adaptation of the story of an unjustly expelled Hungarian maid, a folk play by Hungarian playwright Ede Tóth. Betty is brought up by her uncle in the country, having lost both her parents at early age. On his death bed, her uncle tells her that her mother had actually been in prison all these years. Left alone, Betty goes to the city, and finds a job as a maid. Nick, the eldest son of the family falls in love with her. However, Nick’s mother throws Betty out, accusing her of theft. Betty is sent back to her native village, without knowing that her mother Sara has now been released from prison and is looking for her…

What makes it special?

The films is the only preserved movie of the outstanding figure of Hungarian theater history, Jászai Mari and it is one of the earliest productions by the Oscar-winning director Mihály Kertész, known as Michael Curtiz (Casablanca). 

A tolonc is one of the first pieces of film production in Kolozsvár (now Cluj-Napoca, Transylvania), created as an alternative to film production in Budapest, directed  by Jenő Janovics. The adaptation of folk plays, shot in the picturesque landscapes of Transylvania with the help of statisticians dressed in the colorful folk costumes of the region, has been successfully marketed abroad as well. It was shown in Vienna and Berlin, and the fact that the film survived suggests that it was even screened in the United States.

Before and after restauration: 

The screenings will take place at CINEMATEK.
Address: Baron Horta 9. 1000 Bruxelles 

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