A new restoration of My 20th Century, the first feature from Hungarian filmmaker Ildikó Enyedi (On Body and Soul), will make its debut at London’s ICA, Tyneside Cinema and the DCA in Dundee on October 7, before touring across the UK.
On Body and Soul was a brilliant, bold and bizarre love story, which won the Golden Bear at the 2017 Berlin Film Festival before being distributed to a wider audience in the UK by MUBI. My 20th Century was Enyedi’s breakthrough, a similarly unique feature — albeit without abattoirs or shared dreamscapes — that has unfortunately been little-seen since its 1989 premiere.
A comedy/drama set in turn-of-the-century Budapest, it follows the romantic misadventures of twin sisters, both played by Dorota Segda. The film was selected as the Hungarian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 62nd Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee, because the Academy have always had questionable taste.
This brand-new restoration comes courtesy of the fantastic Cinema Rediscovered, who received support from the Hungarian National Film Archive and the BFI. In the age of streaming, we’re often told that we’ve never had better access to film than ever before. In some ways, that’s true; in the days before home video or DVD, it was near-impossible to see certain films unless that surfaced on TV or in a repertory cinema.
However, streaming platforms are increasingly culling their licensed content in favour of libraries of original productions, and those services which are dedicated to older and little-seen films are often pricey or otherwise difficult to access. Restorations such as this allow forgotten films to be seen as they were intended, and the ensuing tours get them out to as wide an audience as possible.
You can set the Academy straight by going to see the 4k restoration of My 20th Century from 7 October 2018.