Diary for My Children by Márta Mészáros is a paramount portrayal of life in communist Hungary | Film of the Week

Diary for My Children by Márta Mészáros is a paramount portrayal of life in communist Hungary | Film of the Week

12 August 2021

Released in 1984, Diary for my Children is the first in a film trilogy by acclaimed Hungarian director Marta Mészáros. Followed by Diary for My Loves (1986) and Diary for My Father and Mother (1990), Diary of my Children remains one of her most politically explicit films — a paramount portrayal of life in Hungary during the communist era.

The film was inspired by Mészáros’ research into her roots and the traumatic upheavals that her family underwent during Stalin’s regime. Born in Budapest, she spent her early childhood in Soviet Kyrgyzstan. After her mother died and her father was arrested and executed by the secret police, Mészáros was raised by a foster parent. The film won Mészáros the Grand Prix prize at Cannes Film Festival in 1984, making her one of the most prominent female directors in Europe at the time. She was also the first woman to win the Berlinale’s Golden Bear with her 1975 film, Adoption.

In the second and third parts of her trilogy, also available to stream online, Mészáros reconstructs the post-war Stalinist period and the political trials that shook Hungary in the 1950s. Praised by her outstanding combination of fact and fiction, her films dramatise authentic life with archival footage, which makes her work a timeless, vivid legacy of Hungary’s turbulent 20th century.

Watch on MUBI as part of their series Independent Women: the pioneering cinema of Márta Mészáros.

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