Béla Balázs

Active - 1926 - 1949  |   Born - Aug 4, 1884 in Szeged, Hungary  |   Genres - Drama

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Béla Balázs was an influential film theoretician, critic, and director in the early years of Hungarian silent cinema. He originally studied philosophy before becoming a writer of novels, plays, poems and literary criticism. He also directed a few silent films and soon became an icon of Hungarian cultural life. In 1919, his activism in the communist party forced him to be exiled to Austria and Germany. There he continued to expand upon his theories. Balázs saw film as an art form in its own right and was very interested in the camera as a tool to draw the audience into the story. He published The Visible Man/Der Sichtbare Mensch in 1929. In addition to extensively theorizing, Balázs also began collaborating on screenplays, most notably Pabst's The Three Penny Opera (1931). When Hitler became leader of Germany, Balázs fled to the Soviet Union where he taught film aesthetics at Moscow's State Film Institute during the war. When it finally ended, he returned to his native land and continued to write screenplays; he also lectured throughout Central Europe. As a tribute to his contributions, a film studio in Budapest was named for him.

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