Zoltán Fábri

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Zoltán Fábri
Fábry Zoltán-1.jpg
Born(1917-10-15)15 October 1917
Died23 August 1994(1994-08-23) (aged 76)
OccupationFilm director
Years active1951–1983

Zoltán Fábri (15 October 1917 – 23 August 1994) was a Hungarian film director and screenwriter. His films The Boys of Paul Street (1969)[1] and Hungarians (1978)[2] were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. His 1965 film Twenty Hours shared the Grand Prix with War and Peace at the 4th Moscow International Film Festival.[3] His 1969 film The Toth Family was entered into the 7th Moscow International Film Festival.[4] His 1975 film 141 Minutes from the Unfinished Sentence was entered into the 9th Moscow International Film Festival, where he won a Special Prize for Directing.[5]

Fábri wanted to become an artist from an early age on. He studied painting and graduated at the Hungarian College of Fine Arts. He began working in the Hungarian film industry in 1950 as a production designer. He directed his first film Vihar (Storm) in 1951. He became an internationally acclaimed director with his third feature Körhinta (Merry Go-Round) in 1956. He continued directing and writing until the early 1980s. After his retirement from the film industry Fábri taught on the Hungarian University of Theatrical and Film Arts. In his last years he wrote screenplays; they were never made. Fábri was also the president of the Hungarian Film Artist Union from 1959 to 1981.

Fábri's style of filmmaking can be described mainly as "classical", using academic techniques of art filmmaking. His greatest influences were the Italian Neorealism and French Poetic Realism. He experimented with narrative and flashback techniques for a while in the 1960s (in his films Nappali sötétség and Húsz óra) and his 1976 film Az ötödik pecsét contains some highly surrealist scenes, but overall he never used the mannerisms of modernist film in his works. For this reason the Kádár regime favored Fábri over more controversial and experimental directors like Miklós Jancsó. The film won the Golden Prize at the 10th Moscow International Film Festival[6] and was entered into the 27th Berlin International Film Festival.[7]

At the 11th Moscow International Film Festival in 1979, he was awarded with the Honorable Prize for the contribution to cinema.[8]

He was known as a perfectionist who wrote, drawn and choreographed every scene to the most precise detail months before production began and never improvised anything. His reputation as a rigid, tyrannical director was somewhat contradicted by his friendly and kind behaviour towards the British and American child actors on the set of The Boys of Paul Street.

Fábri made nearly all of his films based on literary material (novels or short stories) and wrote the screenplays himself. His constant theme was the question of humanity. Many of his films are set in or around World War II. Two of his frequent collaborators were actress Mari Törőcsik and cinematographer György Illés. In 1969 he played the role of prosecuted statesman Zoltán Dániel in his friend Péter Bacsó's cult satire, A tanú (The Witness) as his sole acting job.

Fábri died in a heart attack at the age of 76 in 1994. His legal successor is Peter Fabri (b. 1985).


Title Year International Title Director Screenwriter Production Designer Actor
Maddie the Goose-boy 1950 Yes
Déryné 1951 Yes
Vihar 1951 Storm Yes
Erkel 1952 Yes
Életjel 1954 Fourteen Lives Yes
Dandin György, avagy a megcsúfolt férj 1955 Yes
Körhinta 1956 Merry Go-Round Yes Yes Yes
Hannibál tanár úr 1956 Professor Hannibal Yes Yes
Bolond április 1957 Summer Clouds Yes Yes
Édes Anna 1958 Sweet Anna Yes Yes Yes
Dúvad 1961 Brute Yes Yes
Két félidő a pokolban 1962 The Last Goal Yes Yes Yes
Nappali sötétség 1963 Darkness in Daytime Yes Yes Yes
Vízivárosi nyár 1964 Hard Summer (TV series) Yes
Húsz óra 1965 Twenty Hours Yes
Útószezon 1966 Late Season Yes
A Pál-utcai fiúk 1969 The Boys of Paul Street Yes Yes
Isten hozta, őrnagy úr! 1969 The Tóth Family Yes Yes
A tanú 1969 The Witness Yes
Hangyayaboly 1971 Ant Hill Yes Yes
Plusz-mínusz egy nap 1973 Plus-Minus One Day Yes Yes
141 perc a befejezetlen mondatból 1975 141 Minutes from the Unfinished Sentence Yes
Az ötödik pecsét 1976 The Fifth Seal Yes Yes
Magyarok 1978 Hungarians Yes Yes
Fábián Bálint találkozása Istennel 1980 Bálint Fábian Meets God Yes Yes
Requiem 1981 Yes Yes
Gyertek el a névnapomra 1983 Housewarming Yes Yes


  1. ^ "The 41st Academy Awards (1969) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-11-15.
  2. ^ "The 51st Academy Awards (1979) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2013-06-07.
  3. ^ "4th Moscow International Film Festival (1965)". MIFF. Retrieved 2012-12-02.
  4. ^ "7th Moscow International Film Festival (1971)". MIFF. Archived from the original on April 3, 2014. Retrieved 2012-12-24.
  5. ^ "9th Moscow International Film Festival (1975)". MIFF. Archived from the original on January 16, 2013. Retrieved 2013-01-06.
  6. ^ "10th Moscow International Film Festival (1977)". MIFF. Archived from the original on January 16, 2013. Retrieved 2013-01-13.
  7. ^ "IMDB.com: Awards for The Fifth Seal". imdb.com. Retrieved 2010-07-19.
  8. ^ "11th Moscow International Film Festival (1979)". MIFF. Archived from the original on April 3, 2014. Retrieved 2013-01-20.

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