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István Szabó

István Szabó: Filmmaker of Existential Choices

Author Susan Rubin Suleiman
Publisher Philosophical Filmmakers
Publication Date 2024-03-07
Section New Titles - Paperback / Film
Type New
Format Paperback
ISBN 9781350181823

Thoughtful and original, this book is the first examination of István Szabó's contribution to contemporary thought, engaging the troubled history of Europe in the 20th and 21st centuries. István Szabó's importance as a filmmaker lies not so much in his attention to film's formal elements as in his deep and ongoing engagement with some of the most urgent ethical and existential questions of our time.

With detailed analyses of István Szabó's major films, from his 1960s works to his Academy Award for Best Foreign Film winner, Mephisto, and on through Szabó's last film in 2020, Final Report, Susan Rubin Suleiman focuses on four important questions pertaining to existential choice: to leave home or to stay in a communist country? To collaborate or not with an authoritarian regime? To affirm or to deny one's Jewishness in the face of antisemitism? To seek or to give up on community in the face of individual or national conflicts? Above all, Suleiman addresses the single most important philosophical question that haunts Szabó's work, as it does that of many other Central European intellectuals and filmmakers of the 20th-century. That is, how do individuals attempt, through the life choices they make or that are foisted on them, to create a viable self in extreme historical situations over which they have no control?

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