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Where has this story begun? Maybe there, when I had to pick up myself the reels of Zhang Yimou’s The Story of Qiu Ju from customs and arrived with it to Toldi Cinema luckily a few minutes before the start of the first Titanic Film Festival”s opening ceremony?
Or has it begun with the naming? At that time many filmlovers could vividly recall the closing images of a film, András Jeles’ Little Valentino. The name Titanic can invoke intellectual independence, it can be a cultural motive. It is almost still in the air, since a whole series of shorts, City Life uses it as a motive, including Bela Tarr’s segment The Last Ship. It is October 1993 in Budapest, otherwise four years prior to James Cameron’s monumental film epic.
Basically, a simple thought inspired me to action: why wouldn’t it be possible to have a film festival in Budapest. I still remember the screening room and the seats, for it was the British Film Institute’s cinema under Waterloo Bridge and its audience, the atmosphere of the London Film Festival that gave me the inspiration.
I wonder which chapter in the history of the festival will be written this year? The biggest international film festival in Hungary, a film event with the highest number of visitors and films, has at the last five occasions been a festival with a competition; there are nine films this year lined up for the BREAKING WAVES AWARD.
Titanic is always „Titanic-like”, and always something else too. This year, there are two basic international trends – and not only in cinematic terms. Firstly, the presence of armed conflicts, not only in the media, but in the public mind as well. A great number of exciting and thoughtprovoking films have been made about this topic, and we
are proud to present a few of the bests, like the Chinese movie City of Life and Death. Talking of China, the country’s swift progress includes the development of its film industry, in quantity, but first of all, in quality. Our section, YEAR OF THE DRAGON contains a selection of Chinese and Taiwanese films.
However, one does not need to look to distant places to find conflict, since family life and love affairs are made up of human relationships of the most exciting kind. Our section FAMILY TIES is about all of that, but if you are looking for something tougher, you will fing it on THE DARK SIDE, a selection of films about crime. In the always present MUSIC section, there are motion pictures composed to the music of the likes of, say, Philippe Heritier and Blur.
After a few years break, there is a section of ANIMATION, this time, following mostly European trends. However, the festivals’s opening film will be American Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox, which will lead up to more than 130 public screenings, galas, professional sessions and audience discussions. As long as the films and the festival are, I wish you fair winds and a good (running) time!

György Horváth
festival director



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