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Péter Forgács

Venom

Ani Molnár, Budapest

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Artist
Péter Forgács
Title
Venom
Year
2016
Duration
29 min
Format & Technical

Film
Edition of 5 + 2 AP

Forgács’s video, Venom – A Diva in Exile (2016) is based on Hungarian author Zsófia Bán’s eponymous short story that addresses the relation between the past, love, losses, and snakes, and in which she writes into a little-known episode from Hungary’s tangled and traumatic pre–and post–World War II history, centered around film star and singer Katalin Karády. Bán’s voice-over narrates Karády’s fictional story. The parallel worlds of the text, the music of János Másik, and the moving images enrich each other producing a sensual composition that addresses issues related to space, time, as well as private and collective history. The sensitive collage of story telling and private films made by Bán’s father in Brazil during the 1950s the period when Karády arrived to Brazil. The composition of movies photos and documents are arranged as a collage that suggests the fragmentedness of her experience. The every days of the films, memories and the foreign land are juxtaposed with the diva’s identity crisis related to emigration. The iconic diva of the Horthy era was accused of spying in wartime, imprisoned, tortured, and banned on radio and in theaters in her home country in 1944. After her release, she saved Jews from certain execution on the Danube banks. Her lover disappeared during the war never to come home again. Heartbroken, marginalized and banned from performing in the newfangled communist state, she entered permanent exile in 1951, spending fifteen years in São Paulo, Brazil, never to act in a film or onstage again. Later she moved to New York where she lived until her death in 1990.