Béla Balázs Studio Research Archive
1146 Budapest, Dózsa György út 37.
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Name of collection
The BBS Research Archive
Provenance and cultural activities
Party authorities considered filmmaking a highly effective tool with which to shape the attitudes of the citizenry. The cultural policy guided by György Aczél, the primary cultural politician during most of the Kádár era, closely monitored film production and the dissemination process. The authorities tolerated the emergence of more experimental artistic practices in realms hidden from the public. The Béla Balázs Studio (BBS) was meant to function as a training ground, where filmmakers who had completed their formal instruction could make short films that were not produced to be screened.
Precisely this latter criterion, which was a kind of cautionary measures, granted special freedom to the Studio, since the films were not subjected to censorship until after they had already been made. In the early phases of the production, the Studio’s artistic circle (and the leadership formed from this circle) controlled the process, so numerous films were made that later were not accepted, and some films even disappeared or remained unfinished.
Another significant consequence of this partial autonomy was that over time artists who were not official filmmakers could make films within the Studio. Beginning in the 1970s, representatives of other fields (writers, poets, visual artists, actors, sociologists, musicians, etc.) could also make films on their own or as co-authors. This reshaped the character of the Studio. The training ground increasingly became a space for countercultural art.
In the 1990s, the radically changed structure of film financing doomed the workshop character of the studio to a slow process of atrophy. The BBS finished its last production in 2005 and ended its activities legally in 2010. The BBS Research Archive was created as a joint initiative of the Balázs Béla Studio Foudation, the Műcsarnok/Kunsthalle Budapest, and the Hungarian National Film Archive in 2006. The purpose of the Archive is to disseminate the films and various documents produced during the years in which the studio was active.
Description of content
Over the course of almost five decades, the BBS produced 511 films in all genres, including short features and lyrical documentary films, long documentaries, major feature films, experimental films and video, animations, and documentations. Several representatives of Hungarian cinema started their careers at the BBS, among them Gábor Bódy, Ildikó Enyedi, Judit Elek, Gyula Gazdag, Zoltán Huszárik, Elemér Ragályi, János Rózsa, Sándor Sára, István Szabó, Béla Tarr, János Xantus. As its most decisive change, at the end of the 1960s the Studio opened its doors to “outsiders” from various fields, who were not officially involved in film production. These artists, musicians, theatre professionals, writers, and sociologists offered different views on documentarism – highlighted by the Series on Education I-V. (István Dárday-László Mihályfy-Györgyi Szalai-László Vitézy-Pal Wilt), Pál Schiffer's Cséplő Gyuri, and Judit Ember's Right of Asylum – and turned BBS into a centre of experimentalism, involving many of the most influential representatives of the neo-avant-garde scene, including Péter Dobai, Miklós Erdély, Tibor Hajas, Ágnes Háy, Dóra Maurer, László Najmányi, János Sugár, and Tamás Szentjóby. The majority of the films are digitized, and documents of the history of the Studio are available in analogue format.
- other artworks (that cannot be classified by other filter categories such as paintings, sculptures, graphics, etc.): 500-999
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
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Important events in the history of the collection
- completely open to the public
Antal, I., Deák, L., & Kodolányi, S. (2002). Balázs Béla stúdió, 1961-2001. Budapest: BBS-Orpheusz.
Gelencser, G. (Ed.). (2009). BBS 50. Budapest, Hungary: BBSA - Műcsarnok.
Author(s) of this page
- Beöthy, Balázs
Kodolányi, Sebestyén, interview by Beöthy, Balázs, April 28, 2016. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection