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A Guest of Life

Tibor Szemzö
Az élet vendége
Hungary 2006 / 79’

Like several of his contemporaries Alexander Csoma from Koros was concvinced that the Hungarian people's origins and language lay in the Orient. On December 23,1819 this gifted linguist-he spoke thirteen languages-set off on foot to discover the roots of Hungarian culture. Eight years later, he arrived at the Buddhist monastery of Kanam at the foot of Himalayas, where he spent next three years. There, he read and translate sacred Tibetan texts, and edited a Tibetan-English dictionary and Tibetan grammar. He died in 1842 aged fifty-eight, his initial objective unfulfilled, although he had learned another seven languages.

A guest of life is neither biography, nor a documentary, but an essay that expresses Csoma's sensory impressions through gentle sonorities and appealing images-popular legends about Csoma being humorously illustrated, for example, via colour animation sequences. The footage in the Himalayan monasteries and India was shot on Super-8. The colours are very pale, hardly perceptible, whilst the spoken section, like the film's soundtrack, is more redolent of musical expression, thus creating a highly seductive and contemplative atmosphere.

IFF Locarno 2006

Born in Budapest in 1955, graduated form Hungarian Music Academy, musician and composer, author of videos, installations and film experiments, and founder of the music "enterprise" Gordiusi Čomó. He has given concerts since 1970s, either solo, or as member of groups he co-founded, including Group 180, New Modern Acrobats, and Mixed Ensemble. His multi-media concerts are accompanied by screenings of his films, registered on super 8-mm tape. He treats film images as another instrument in the orchestra, an element of his musical composition. Szemzö's first feature-length film, A Guest of Life (Az élet vendége: Csoma-legendárium, 2006), shown at the 7th IFF ENH, was an inspiration for the film opera Csoma, created specifically for Wrocław Opera.

Filmography:

1987 Uszkodzenia czaszki / Koponyaalapi törés / Skullbase Fracture (kr.m. / short)

1993 Kuba / Cuba (kr.m. / short)1998 Drugi brzeg / A túlpart / The Other Shore (kr.m. / short)

2005 To co jest / Ez van! / What There Is (kr.m. / short)

2006 Gość życia / Az élet vendége / A Guest of Life

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