May 8, 2010 - Hungarian House

213 East 82nd Street, New York, NY 10028-2701

Hungarian American Cinema


An original story, based in part on the life of the great Twentieth Century Hungarian poet, Miklós Radnóti, was written and co-produced by Karl Bardosh in 1989. Chris Sarandon plays the leading role.

Miklós Radnóti (1909 -1944) is considered one of the foremost 20th-century Hungarian poets. Radnóti was born in Budapest into a Jewish family in 1909. He was orphaned at age 12 and was taken in by relatives who saw to his education. In 1927 he graduated from a commercial school and went on to become an accountant. In 1930, at the age of 21, Radnóti published his first collection of poems, Pogány köszöntő (Pagan Salute). His next book, published in 1931, Újmódi pásztorok éneke (Song of Modern Shepherds) was confiscated by the public prosecutor on grounds of indecency and Radnóti drew a light jail sentence. In 1931 he spent two months in Paris, where he visited the "Exposition coloniale" and decided to translate African poems and folk tales into Hungarian. In 1934 he obtained his Ph.D. in Hungarian literature. In 1935 Radnóti married Fanni (Fifi) Gyarmati and settled in Budapest. His book Járkálj csa, halálraítélt! (Walk On, Condemned) won the prestigious Baumgarten Prize in 1937. He was a fierce anti-fascist. During World War II, Radnóti published Orpheus nyomában, which contained translations of Virgil, Rimbaud, Mallarmé, Eluard, Apollinare and Blaise Cendras.

Beginning in 1940, because he had been identified as a Jew, he was forced to serve on a series of forced labor battalions, at one time arming and disarming explosives on the Ukrainian front. In 1944 he was deported to a compulsory labor camp at a copper mine near Bor, Yugoslavia. As the Nazis retreated from the Eastern Front and the Russian army approached, the Bor concentration camp was evacuated and Radnóti and 3,200 of his fellow internees were led on a forced march through Yugoslavia and Hungary. He was shot to death in November near the northwest Hungarian village of Abda, along with 21 other prisoners who, like Radnóti, were too weak to walk. The mass grave in which they were buried was exhumed after the war and Radnóti's last poems, describing incidents of the march known as the "Bori notesz", were found in his trench coat pocket by his wife. They were written in pencil in a small Serbian exercise book. Radnóti's posthumous collection, Tajtékos ég (Clouded Sky, or Foaming Sky) contains odes to his wife, letters, and poetic fragments.

Photos: Gabriella Győrffy

Two of Miklós Radnóti's poems were recited (in Hungarian) by Tímea Marján
see clips on you tube:
      Nem tudhatom     Himnusz a békéről

Nem tudhatom...

Nem tudhatom, hogy másnak e tájék mit jelent,
nekem szülőhazám itt e lángoktól ölelt
kis ország, messzeringó gyerekkorom világa.
Belőle nőttem én, mint fatörzsből gyönge ága
s remélem, testem is majd e földbe süpped el.
Itthon vagyok. S ha néha lábamhoz térdepel
egy-egy bokor, nevét is, virágát is tudom,
tudom, hogy merre mennek, kik mennek az uton,
s tudom, hogy mit jelenthet egy nyári alkonyon
a házfalakról csorgó, vöröslő fájdalom.
Ki gépen száll fölébe, annak térkép e táj,
s nem tudja, hol lakott itt Vörösmarty Mihály;
annak mit rejt e térkép? gyárat s vad laktanyát,
de nékem szöcskét, ökröt, tornyot, szelíd tanyát,
az gyárat lát a látcsőn és szántóföldeket,
míg én a dolgozót is, ki dolgáért remeg,
erdőt, füttyös gyümölcsöst, szöllőt és sírokat,
a sírok közt anyókát, ki halkan sírogat,
s mi föntről pusztitandó vasút, vagy gyárüzem,
az bakterház s a bakter előtte áll s üzen,
piros zászló kezében, körötte sok gyerek,
s a gyárak udvarában komondor hempereg;
és ott a park, a régi szerelmek lábnyoma,
a csókok íze számban hol méz, hol áfonya,
s az iskolába menvén, a járda peremén,
hogy ne feleljek aznap, egy kőre léptem én,
ím itt e kő, de föntről e kő se látható,
nincs műszer, mellyel mindez jól megmutatható.

Hisz bűnösök vagyunk mi, akár a többi nép,
s tudjuk miben vétkeztünk, mikor, hol és mikép,
de élnek dolgozók itt, költők is bűntelen,
és csecsszopók, akikben megnő az értelem,
világít bennük, őrzik, sötét pincékbe bújva,
míg jelt nem ír hazánkra újra a béke ujja,
s fojtott szavunkra majdan friss szóval ők felelnek.

Nagy szárnyadat borítsd ránk virrasztó éji felleg.

1944. január 17.

I Know Nor What...

I know not what to strangers this dear landscape might mean,
to me it is my birhplace, this tiny spot of green;
ringed now with fire, it was, once, my childhood rocking me;
I grew there as a fragile branch from the parent tree;
O may my body sink bac to that life-giving soil.
This land is home to me: for if a bush should kneel
before my feet I know its name just as it's flower,
I know who walks the road, whither and at what hour,
I know what it might mean if reddening pain should fall
dripping some summer dusk down the lintel or the wall.
For him who flies above it, a map is all he sees,
this living scape of being but symbols and degrees;
the reader of the maplines has neither known nor felt
the place where the great Mihály Vörösmarty dwelt;
what's hidden in the map? yes, barracks, mills and arms,
but for me crickets, oxen, steeples, quiet farms;
with field-glasses he marks the crops and industries,
but I, the trembling labourer, the forest trees,
the twittering orchards, vineprops with their tended grapes,
and the old granny in the graveyard where she weeps;
and what is targeted as rail or factory
is just a lineman by his signal-box to me,
and children watch him wave his red flag for the guard,
and sheepdogs roll and tumble in the foundry yard;
and in the park the trace of loves who once loved me,
the honey taste of kisses sweet as bilberry,
and on the way to school you'd not step on a crack,
let you'd forget your lesson or break your mother's back;
the pilot cannot see that paving-stone, that grass:
to see all this there is no instrument or glass.

For we are guilty too, as others are,
we know how we have siined, in what, and when and where:
but working people live here, poets in innocence,
breast-feeding infants with their dawned intelligence,
and one day it will brighten, hid now in safety's bark,
till peace shall write upon our land its shining mark
and answer our choked words in sentences of light.

With great wings cover us, O guardian cloud of night.

January 17, 1944.

Translated by Zsuzsanna Oszváth and Frederick Turner

Karl Bardosh, Hungarian-born co-producer teaches film making at Tisch School
of the Arts
New York University, was present for a discussion after the showing

Accumulating over 30 years of professional experience in Europe, Asia, Brazil, Hollywood and New York in all genres of film and television, Prof. Karl Bardosh of New York Univesity has been an award-winning director, producer, writer, editor of features, shorts, television series and documentaries. Throughout these years Prof. Bardosh has been a trendsetting pioneer in many areas of film and television.

He had initiated the world’s first network television educational series on the Aesthetics of Film (Hungary, 1968)-pioneered a new genre, Poetry Music Videos with Allen Ginsberg (USA, 1984) and had written, directed and edited the first documentary on Bollywood and Indian Parallel Cinema for the American Public Broadcasting System (Bombay, 1990) that was run in prime time for three years.  Bardosh wrote and directed the short feature film, "Iron and Horse" - produced at the American Film Institute, shot (in Panavision-Technicolor) by Oscar Winner Vilmos Zsigmond starring Academy Award Nominee Lynn Carlin. The film won Best Short Feature of the Year Award at the USA Film Festival and was the first AFI film that was picked up for theatrical distribution by Warner Brothers at the Melbourne International Film Festival. (1976). Integrating films and videos, he had designed the first Virtual Memorial on the Internet. (New York, 1998)

Prof. Bardosh has also pioneered Cell Phone Cinema in India, in co-production with Sundeep Marwah at the Asian Academy of Film and Television, (Film City, Noida, January, 2007) In his digital feature film, "Out of Balance" he was the first one to use live action inter-cut with color and black and white rotoscoped sequences to express different layers of memory. (Rio de Janeiro, South Florida, 2006-08)

In his book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Digital Video published by Penguin-Alpha Books, Prof. Bardosh introduced the concept of filmmaking by an unbroken chain of digital software starting with Digital Screenwriting (November, 2007).

In addition, Prof. Bardosh has been frequently serving as Script Doctor, Creative Consultant and Dramaturge on international co-productions and as Artistic Director, Judge and Panelist for international film festivals and competitions.

Karl Bardosh and Michael Szarvasy, moderator

Kapcsolódó oldalak:

Radnóti Miklós két versét előadta Marján Tímea,
a felvételek láthatók a you tube-on:

Nem tudhatom     Himnusz a békéről

Related Links:

New York Hungarian House

New York-i Magyar Ház - gimagine fotóriportok

Neither Memory Nor Magic - A documentary about Miklós Radnóti