Klara Trencsenyi: Corvin Variations

I met Hungarian Klara Trencsenyi at the Astra Film Festival, where her newest work “Corvin Variations” was screened. Two years ago Trencsenyi organised a project development workshop for creative documentaries in Budapest that I took part in. Since then the political situation in Hungary, also called ORBANistan, has worsened drastically, which also has influenced the film funding climate that as in many other areas is said to be suffering heavily from corruption… Back to the film, here is the description taken from the festival catalogue:

“The so-called Corvin Project initiated in 2003 was the largest and most awarded Central European city development project. It envisioned the full transformation of cca. 22 acres in Budapest’s 8th district, which implied the demolition of all buildings in that area. Both the local government and the investor wanted to get rid of the “slums” by relocating more than one thousand families – among them many Roma people – who could not afford buying property in the old-new area. The protagonists of Corvin Variations are all local residents who have been relocated in the course of the project – and who recall, with nostalgia and criticism, the life in the old neighbourhood and community. They no longer see each other – they meet only in the reconstructed space created by the filmmakers…”

Out of this theme the director, who already showed her excellence in camerawork in her previous film ”Bird’s Way”, has created a light-toned stylistically playful documentary about memories that disappear as the houses are being demolished, about a neighbourhood where people helped each other, whereas now ”people are closed”, as one of the characters say in the film that is very much based on cleverly interviews and monologues with the inhabitants, who now, in general, live in the new flats they had to take when they were re-housed. Almost all Romas are out, as are most of the old people, as the flats are too expensive for them.

Hungary, 2011, 39 mins.

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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