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The Films of Márta Mészáros – June 10—15

A socialist and feminist filmmaker whose trailblazing, six-decade career broke barriers in cinema hierarchies

This first U.S. retrospective of Márta Mészáros’s films brings together essential new restorations that reveal her to be one of postwar European cinema’s major unsung voices. Few female directors emerged from 1960s Europe to carve out so enduring a career, one that has spanned more than half a century and continues to this day.

Mészáros brings her own life experiences to her intimate, deeply personal films. As an orphan whose father was killed in the Stalinist purges, as a Hungarian raised in the USSR and caught between Soviet oppression and her country’s struggle for independence, and as a woman navigating the promises of a burgeoning feminist movement, Mészáros returns time and again to themes of motherhood, nontraditional families, relationships between women, and the traumas of twentieth-century Hungarian history.

Gateway Film Center is pleased to present a selection of Mészáros’s most
essential films, newly restored and on the big screen.

Learn more about each selection at the links below.

Plan your visit

The Girl (1968) — Friday, June 10 at 7pm

The first Hungarian film directed by a woman, Márta Mészáros’ debut feature is an assured expression of many of her recurring themes: broken families, the relationships between parents and children, and the search for stability in an uncertain world.

Binding Sentiments (1969) — Saturday, June 11 at 4:30pm

Family ties become a trap from which a woman struggles to escape in Mészáros’ quietly devastating sophomore feature. Rare among her works in its focus on a wealthy, rather than working-class, milieu, it strikingly illustrates how the predicaments of patriarchy affect all women.

Don’t Cry, Pretty Girls! (1970) — Saturday, June 11 at 7pm

One of her most formally experimental works, Mészáros’ music-driven counterculture snapshot traces the odyssey of a young woman joining a touring band on the eve of her marriage, reflecting the cultural sea change sweeping Europe at a time when traditional values were being shaken by a youthquake of individual self expression.

Riddance (1973) — Sunday, June 12 at 2pm

In representing Hungarian society’s clashing attitudes and prejudices Mészáros depicts a working class woman’s attempt to overcome the perceived inferiority of her social status as well as her own familial dysfunction and feelings of inadequacy.

Adoption (1975) — Sunday, June 12 at 4pm

Mészáros gives aching expression to the experiences of women in 1970s Hungary in this sensitive and absorbing slice-of-life drama, which became the first film directed by a woman to win the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival.

Nine Months (1976) — Sunday, June 12 at 6pm

A defiant woman asserts her autonomy in the face of a disapproving society in Mészáros’ complex look at the ways in which women’s bodies and minds are held in check by the strictures of patriarchy.

The Two of Them (1978) — Monday, June 13 at 5pm

Two women, each at a critical crossroads in life and love, find refuge in their friendship with one another in this multilayered look at female solidarity. With characteristic sensitivity, Mészáros traces the protective yet complex bond that forms between the two, each at a different stage of life.

Diary for My Children (1984) — Tuesday, June 14 at 1pm

Mészáros drew on her own wartime experiences to craft this haunting portrait of a young woman coming of age amidst a turbulent historical moment, caught between the shock of World War II and the rising tide of Stalinism. Winner of the Grand Prix at Cannes.

Diary for My Lovers (1987) — Tuesday, June 14 at 3:30pm

Mészáros’ follow-up to Diary for My Children picks up the story of teenage Juli, the director’s alter-ego, as she defies the wishes of her Stalinist aunt and leaves Hungary in order to pursue her dream of becoming a filmmaker in Moscow. A stirring depiction of a young woman finding her voice in a world intent on stifling it.

Diary for My Mother and Father (1990) — Tuesday, June 14 at 6:30pm

The heartrending final installment of Mészáros’ autobiographical Diary trilogy. An epic and intimate portrait of history as she experienced it, bearing witness to both the horrors of totalitarian oppression and the courage of those who resist.

The Heiresses (1980) — Wednesday, June 15 at 5pm

Unable to give birth, Szilvia, a wealthy heiress, offers Irén money in exchange for conceiving a child with her husband on her behalf. A piercing period elegy blurring social boundaries and leading all involved into an explosive moral, emotional, and romantic minefield.

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