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Fri, 07 Sep 2012 11:51:53 EDT by admin, 117801 views
John Carroll University
Cultural Studies paper by Pereszlényi, Martha Pintér (all papers)
1 Hungarian Folk Tale + 1 French Fairy Tale = Paul Fejős’ Fantasy Film: Preserving Images of Hungary Between the Two World Wars in Marie, Légende hongroise (1932)
Film director Paul Fejős left his native Hungary in 1923 for Hollywood, then in 1928 moved to Paris to make “talkies.” The French company Osso had set up studios in Budapest, allowing Fejős a return to native soil for the French-Hungarian co-production Marie, Légende hongroise (Tavaszi zápor; Spring Shower) 1932, made simultaneously in 4-5 other languages. Marie, a village servant girl seduced and abandoned by the wealthy fiancé of her employer’s daughter, is cast out from home and village. Finding work as a maidservant in a Budapest bordello, she gives birth. Dressed in folklore costume, Marie presents her baby to the Virgin Mary during a Catholic religious ceremony. The local authorities decide to confiscate the baby. Marie, maddened with pain, dies of grief. Having assumed a Madonna-like persona, we find her scrubbing the floors of Heaven, and upon seeing her daughter about to be seduced, she pours out her bucket of water, causing a spring shower that will separate young lovers, warning them of the dangers of physical passion. Film historian István Nemeskürty referred to this film as a solitary jewel of Hungarian cinema. The narrative is simple with little dialogue although much music, relying on striking, repeated motifs (the flowering tree), presenting a world of feeling, not fact, a fairy tale of an archetypal Cinderella mistreated by archetypal bad people, but who in the end magically achieves consolation and the capacity to influence events. The sparse, stylized cinematography renders it one of the most intensely metaphoric works of the 1930s, while simultaneously suspending on celluloid a lost world of Hungary between village and capital.
Brief Professional Bio:
Mártha Pereszlényi-Pintér is Chairperson of the Department of Classical and Modern Languages and Cultures and Associate Professor of French at John Carroll University in Cleveland, OH. She earned her Ph.D. in Romance Languages from The Ohio State University, and studied at the Institut de Touraine (Tours) and the Bryn Mawr Program (Avignon) in France. Her research and publication accomplishments include French and also Hungarian Literature and Culture of the pre-modern period (Medieval, Renaissance, 17th century), Film, and Language for Business & the Professions. She has read papers at national and international conferences. While at OSU, she wrote or co-wrote 16 manuals for individualized instruction in both French and Hungarian with group grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Annenberg Foundation. She was born in Austria and emigrated to the USA with her Hungarian parents. She is also a past President of AHEA, and chaired or co-chaired four past AHEA annual Conferences.