Director Istvan Szabo

Production year 1981

Length 140min.

Country Hungary


The German actor Hendrik Höfgen is driven by immense ambition in 1930’s Germany. In the theatre of Hamburg he prepares himself for the great task by tremendous efforts. He marries the rich Barbara Bruckner and goes to Berlin. Finally he can play the dream of his life, Mephisto in Faust. After the great success all his thoughts and time are occupied by the stage, not realising how he commits himself more and more to the Nazi. He is nominated to be the intendant of the Prussian State Theatre by the General who seems to be paving the way for Höfgen's career. His wife leaves Germany, his Jewish friend disappears, his halfblood girlfriend is expelled and the General humiliates him cruelly. His friends want to rescue him from Germany, but he stays on: he keeps on stepping upwards to the top of the artistic career. In his life he is not Mephisto, rather Faust, entering into a blind agreement with the devil. Fear grasps him for the first time when the General lets him be illuminated by the mighty, powerful reflectors in the enormous stadium, the new theatre of the Nazi under construction.


FIPRESCI Prize, Best Screenplay | Cannes IFF, France, 1981

Oscar (Best Foreign Language Film) | American Academy Awards, USA, 1982

David di Donatello Award (Best Foreign Actor, Best Foreign Film) | Italian Film Academy Awards, Italy, 1982

Silver Ribbon (Best Foreign Director) | talian National Syndicate of Film Journalists, Sorrento, Italy, 1982

San Fedele Award | Milano IFF, Italy, 1982

Best Outstanding Newcomer to Leading Film Roles | BAFTA, UK, 1982

First Prize | Cadíz IFF, Spain, 1982

Best Foreign Language Film | National Board of Review Awards, USA, 1982

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year | London Critics Circle Film Awards, UK, 1982

Best Foreign Language Film | Polish Film Critics Prize, Poland, 1984


Istvan Szabo
Istvan Szabo



Josef Marx


Péter Dobai, István Szabó

Director of Photography

Lajos Koltai

Production designer

János Nagy, József Romvári

Music by

Zdenkó Tamássy


György Fék


Zsuzsa Csákány


Klaus Maria Brandauer, Ildikó Bánsági, Krystyna Janda, Rolf Hoppe, György Cserhalmi, Péter Andorai, Karin Boyd, Mari Csomós, Tamás Major

Production company(ies)

Manfred Durniok Production, Objektív Film Studio

Istvan Szabo

Born 1938, Budapest, Hungary. Hungarian director, István Szabó, has won worldwide acclaim from both critics and audiences, not only for the extraordinary beauty of his impressive slate of films, but also for the historic and contemporary importance of the messages that they carry within their social and political themes. After graduating as a film director from Hungary’s Academy of the Art of Theatre and Film he went on to direct his first feature film, aged 26. The Age of Daydreaming, which won Szabó the Silver Sail at Locarnoand a Special Jury Prize for Best Director at the Hungarian FF, made him a leading figure in a new generation of Hungarian filmmakers in the 60’s. Fourty years on he still retains his position as one of the principal forces within the country’s film industry. His outstanding award winning films include Father, Confidence, the Oscar winner Mephisto, Colonel Redl, Hanussen, Sweet Emma, Dear Böbe, Being Julia. Producer Robert Lantos’ first collaboration with director was the phenomenally acclaimed Sunshine which, like most of Szabó’s films, he had scripted himself. Starring Ralph Fiennes, supported by a international cast, the film garnered numerous awards and nominations including 3 European Film Awards, Canadian Genie Award (14 nominations) for Best Motion Picture, three Golden Globe nominations, and US Political Film Society Democracy Award. More recently, Szabó directed Taking Sides taken from the play by, and with a screenplay by Ronald Harwood, and Beeing Julia based on the novel Theatre by Somerset Maugham. Szabó’s award-winning short films include: Variations on a Theme, Concert, You, Dream About a House, and City Map. He won the Outstanding Achievement Award at Montreaux for his TV film Offenbach’s Secret and his other television work includes Premiere, Catsplay, Bali and Steadying the Boat. He is also an accomplished stage director and has directed several operas including Tannhäuser for Opera de Paris, Boris Godunow for Opera Leipzig and Il Trovatore for the Vienna State Opera. Besides his directing, Szabó is also a Guest Professor at various film schools including London, Berlin and Vienna, where he lectures on film history.


A Hetedik napon (1959, short), Bill Poster (1960, short), Variációk egy témára (1961, short), Koncert (1963, short), You (1963, short), Traffic-Rule Tale for Children (1965, short), Age of Illusions (1965), Father (1966), Piety (1967, short), Lovefilm (1970), Budapest, Why I Love It (1971), Dream about a House (1972, short), Tüzoltó St. 25 (1973), Budapesti mesék (1977), Várostérkép (1977, short), Confidence (1980), Der grüne Vogel (1980), Mephisto (1981), Colonel Redl (1985), Hanussen (1988), Meeting Venus (1991), Édes Emma, drága Böbe - vázlatok, aktok (1992), Sunshine (1999), Taking Sides (2001), Ten Minutes Older: The Cello (segment Ten Minutes After) (2002), Európából Európába (short, doc., segment 2, 2004), Being Julia (2004), Rokonok (2006), The Door (2012).

FILMS 2013