The cinema of Márta Mészáros

July 2021

We showcase the direct and observational voice of this important director, whose films celebrate the rich tapestry of Central and Eastern European life.



‘I try to portray interesting women – not geniuses, but interesting women’
Márta Mészáros

While resisting the ‘feminist filmmaker’ label, Mészáros undeniably makes her films from a female point of view. She looks long and deep. Drawing on personal experience, she considers difference, rebellion and intimacy and doesn’t judge. After studying at the Moscow Film School and making over 20 documentaries (significantly stories of under-represented women), Mészáros made her first feature in 1968. Since then she’s built a significant body of award-winning work where a look and a gesture can replace pages of exposition, and in which we can learn volumes about relationships between parents and children, state and individuals and the rich tapestry of Central and Eastern European life. With many films restored by National Film Institute Hungary – Film Archive, it’s the perfect opportunity to acknowledge Mészáros’ incisive vision, so relevant to our times.

Maggi Hurt, season curator

Want more?
See our Woman With a Movie Camera Summit
Check the BFI YouTube channel for additional online discussions of Márta Mészáros’ work
Enjoy selected titles on BFI Player

The restorations in this season were made from the original camera negatives, original magnetic tape sounds and positive prints, supervised and presented by the National Film Institute Hungary - Film Archive. The restorations were carried out at the NFI Film Archive and Filmlab.

In cultural partnership with: Hungarian Cultural Centre, London