on 7 February 2010
The Eastern Bloc cinema era from the late 1950s to the mid 1980s is a real treasure trove. Far from the monolithic praise of communism that one would expect, Czechoslovak and Hungarian directors in particular offer a complex appraisal of the system in which they worked. "Diary For My Children" (1982) is just such a film, blending the young female central character's quest for belonging within the wider context of Stalinist post-war purges in newly communist Hungary.
Beautifully photographed by Milos Jancso Jr., "Diary" is presented in a pretty decent transfer by underrated publisher Second Run (although the segues between stock footage and that shot for the film is pretty jarring -not SR's fault, of course). It's a rather no frills DVD package, but it's marvellous that committed publishers such as Second Run can produce cogent collections of important and intelligent films. Once again, "Diary" is an example of how Eastern European cinema produced works with an intensity, honesty, and real audacious artistic bravery, that makes so much American and European film seem frivolous.