An event of the Budapest Spring Festival
At a three-day event series, fellow-artists pay homage to the memory of Péter Halász, theatre director, actor, writer and “amateur actor instructor” (as put by the state security service), who died four years ago.
Péter learned he was terminally ill during the shooting of Herminamező – Szellemfilm, which was to win the main prize of the 37th Hungarian Film Festival. This was when he decided to ask friends and fellow artists to document the rest of his life in as much detail as possible, and to make a 24 hour (!) film of his entire oeuvre. With trademark generosity and sense of humour, he did not set generic or stylistic constraints, and left the assessment of the film entirely to posterity.
In a characteristic vein, his last performance was an attention-grabbing happening: he certainly made a stir in the Budapest cultural scene when he arranged his own laying in state in Műcsarnok. He lay in a coffin as he listened to the obituaries and performances of colleagues and admirers, then thanked the participants and left. A sequel to the last appearance, Halász 24 remembers a man of legendary suggestive powers, and seeks to introduce an oeuvre that was crucial in the history of Hungarian theatre to a new generation.
The premiere of the 24-hour Halász film provides the backbone of the event series. Screening starts at midnight on March 19, Friday, and ends at midnight on March 21, Sunday. To help viewers in their considerable effort, the film will be screened twice consecutively, and at any one time four time-shifted versions will be available for viewing. To make the stay that promises to be longer than the average visit to a museum more comfortable, Műcsarnok will provide cushions to lounge on.
To round out the “Halász experience,” the filmic portrait will be complemented with theatre performances and readings, an exhibition of photos and relics, concerts, and a special sound room, with the participation of fellow artists. With this programme we want to ensure that the spirit of this uniquely versatile artist, this trueborn Hungarian thespian, will live on.