Documentary film screening and discussion with director Gyula Gazdag, UCLA, Film and Television.
Thursday, December 06, 20126:30 PM
A51 Humanities Building
Package Tour (Társasutazás, Hungary, 1984, 75 min, Hungarian with English subtitles)
On a Spring day in 1984, a group of Hungarian tourists alight from their motor coach: they look in some ways "typical"-mostly middle aged or older-but their faces lack the placid curiosity of the casual visitor. The tourist site is Auschwitz and the "tourists" are mostly survivors, come to remember, or their children, brought to witness. Just what Auschwitz is today, for them and for others, is the question this probing documentary asks. The past surfaces unexpectedly to become the present when visitors recall incidents of everyday horror as if from a dream; typical of Gazdag's effective approach, irony is built-in, sentimentalism screened out. A German tour guide notes with alarming, unconscious pride the mechanisms and functions of the death camp. Cameras click...and the film cameras roll; Gazdag incorporates this bitter ambiguity into his work. His exploration of the Hungarian experience of Nazism is both thoughtful and open ended. As one former inmate offers, for starters, "The day God died in Auschwitz has implications to this day."
is an accomplished and iconoclastic director of film, theater, and television.
His numerous feature films include Stand Off (1988), winner of the Special Jury Prize at the San Sebastian Festival; A Hungarian Fairy Tale (1987), winner of Best Feature Film of the Year of the Hungarian Film Critics and screened at Cannes Directors’ Fortnight; Singing on the Treadmill (1974), which was banned in Hungary for ten years and The Whistling Cobblestone (1971), which was banned from foreign exhibition for 12 years. Gazdag has also written and directed eight documentaries, including The Resolution (1972), which was named one of the 100 best documentaries of all time by the International Documentary Association. He has directed, among others, Candide, The Tempest, and Tom Jones for the stage.
Gazdag is on the faculty of the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television, and serves as the Artistic Director of the Sundance Filmmakers Lab and the Creative Advisor at the Binger FilmLab, Amsterdam.
Sponsor(s): Center for European and Eurasian Studies, Center for Jewish Studies