ZOOM 2 conference, Debrecen

Between 12 and 13 December 2014 a film conference entitled ZOOM 2014: Space, Power and Identity in Hungarian Cinema was held in the media room on Debrecen’s Modem (ArtCentre for Modern and Contemporary Art). The event was organised by the instructors of the British Department, the Institute of English and American Studies, the University of Debrecen: Kalmár György and Győri Zsolt andfocused on the various ways film has contributed to the representation and critique of power relations and personal as well as collective identities in the past decades. The main sponsor of the event was the Department of British Studies of the University of Debrecen. Two years ago they already created a similarly highly successful conference entitled Body and Subjectivity in Hungarian Cinema after theChange of the Regime2. Thus, the latest occasion was born as the continuation of this conference, marking the beginning of a new tradition in the Hungarian academic community of film studies. For the two-day meeting various presenters arrived from the Department of Film Studies, The Institute for Art Theory and Media Studies, The Institute for Literary and Cultural Studies and the Doctoral School of Philosophy of the Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, the Department of Visual Culture and Literary Theory, Szeged, the University of Theatre and Film Arts, the Communication and Business School of Budapest (BKF), the Eszterházy Károly College, and of course the British Department of the Institute of English and American Studies, Debrecen, and even an active film director, Csuja László presented a paper. Eight members of the research team attended the conference with presentations: Eszter Ureczky talked about the power mechanisms of the “goulash communism”, Balázs Varga interpreted the relationship between space and power in films by Szabolcs Hajdu, Miklós Sághy analysed the spaces in-between in contemporary Hungarian films, Mónika Dánél focused on the spaces of intimacy in A barátkozás lehetőségei, Hajnal Király talked about the discourses of the “clinical gaze”, Teréz Vincze discussed the relationship between the individual and space in the modernist Hungarian cinema, György Kalmár offered an overview of the figure of the labyrinth in Postwar Hungarian Cinema, while Zsolt Győri revealed the ideological background of the film Apacsok. The conference thus really became an inspiring occasion of heated debates and inspiring talks, enriched by regional, generational and theoretical variety; and as a result, its effectiveness went far beyond the conventional conference frames. The individual papers represented a colourful scale of applying different film, media and cultural theories, and the themes also reflected the wide range of options implied by the call for papers. Beside contemporary Hungarian cinema (Pál Adrienn, Moszkva tér, Nyócker!, Bibliotheque Pascal, Fehér tenyér, Johanna, Pánik, Coming Out, for example), the classic and lesser known pieces of the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s also appeared, such as the works of Bódy Gábor, András Ferenc, Kósa Ferenc, Makk Károly and Dobray György. In this way the papers all contributed to establishing a new dialogue between theoretical horizons and terminological bases, as well as the former and more recent reception of the films – and not the least their cinematic readers and audiences. The discussions that followed the presentations represented the highlights of the conference, greatly contributing to the theoretical quality of the texts that will be published in the conference volume, in 2016.

2 The conference volume is downloadable from here: http://www.academia.edu/8810052/Gy%C5%91ri_Zsolt_%C3%A9s_Kalm%C3%A1r_Gy%C3%B6rgy_szerk._Test_%C3%A9s_szubjektivit%C3%A1s_a_rendszerv%C3%A1lt%C3%A1s_ut%C3%A1ni_magyar_filmben

Comments are closed