Race, sex, state power: Lili Horváth’s Sunstroke (2009) and The Wednesday Child (2015).

Gergely, Gabor (2019) Race, sex, state power: Lili Horváth’s Sunstroke (2009) and The Wednesday Child (2015). In: BAFTSS 2019 Annual Conference, 25-27 April, 2019, University of Birmingham.

Race, sex, state power: Lili Horváth’s Sunstroke (2009) and The Wednesday Child (2015)
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Lili Horváth’s A szerdai gyermek/The Wednesday Child (2015) is set in the poorest part of Hungary, where Maja (Kinga Vecsei), a teenage mother whose child is in state care - like she, herself, had been - is offered an opportunity to set up a venture that might lift her out of poverty. Her hopes are dashed when her boyfriend, a petty thief, sabotages her business out of jealousy. In this film, director Lili Horváth, one of a number of woman filmmakers to debut under government commissioner for film and Rambo producer Andy Vajna’s funding regime, engages with the raced, sexed and ethnic dimensions of institutional abuse and state power. The paper traces the impact of current Hungarian funding policy on the treatment of these important questions, by analysing The Wednesday Child against Horváth’s earlier short Napszúrás/Sunstroke (2009) from which the former was adapted. The paper contends that while Sunstroke critiques state power, institutionalization and sexual abuse, the feature, as a result of the intense script development required by the Film Fund, shifts its focus to an individual’s potential to lift themselves out of poverty via social enterprise. This significant thematic – and ideological – shift is complemented by an aesthetic one: Maja’s journey is presented against a painterly backdrop and within a complex spatial regime which together seem to displace the film into an abstract elsewhere. This turn to the figural, the paper argues, is a function of the Film Fund’s involvement: an acquiescence with state power, and a radical challenge, too.

Keywords:Hungarian Cinema, Race, State Power, National Cinema, Film Funding
Subjects:P Mass Communications and Documentation > P303 Film studies
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Film & Media > Lincoln School of Film & Media (Film)
ID Code:36932
Deposited On:09 Sep 2019 08:52

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