Béla Balázs

Balazs Bela

Bela Balazs
poet, writer, film theorist, film professor

He was born in Szeged, with the name Herbert Bauer. As a college student, he was a roommate of Zoltán Kodály and their friendship effected more common works. His poetic career began in 1908, then he published in daily and weekly newspapers, his task was mainly theater and film criticism.

Later he processed his works and published them in 1925 in his film aesthetics, considered to be his magnum opus, the ’Látható ember’. He used to live and work in Berlin from 1926 to 1930. In that period he was a colleague ofErwin Piscator and Georg Wilhelm Pabst. He met there Leni Riefenstahl and wrote screen-plays for some of his movies.

As a teacher of the Film College, he settled down in 1932 in Moscow. After 1945 he returned to Budapest, and practised as a film organizer, teacher, editor as well, meanwhile he used to be a guest lecturer in Prague and Rome. The famous opera, ’The Blubird’s castle’ and the ballet, ’The Wooden Prince’ (composed by Béla Bartók) were based on his own work, not talking about ’Cinka Panna’ (together with Zoltán Kodály) or the movie, ’Somewhere in Europe’ in directing Géza Radványi.

In 1948 he received Kossuth Prize. One year later he died from a stroke. State awards were founded in his honor, the ’Béla Balázs Prize’. It is donated from the Minister of National Cultural Heritage in the field of motion picture, for prominent creativity. His tomb is in the Pantheon of National Workers’ Movement. His hometown, Szeged keeps a bronze bust of him in the Cathedral Square Memorial Hall, the Dugonics Square shrines a plague, and what is more, a cinema in the Downtown produces a memorial.

National Memorial Hall
Szeged, Dom Square 8.

The founder of the National Memorial Hall – commonly known as the Pantheon in Szeged – was Count Kuno Klebelsberg (former Minister of Cult), who implemented the national pride with his so-called cultural superiority program. The city bought the first twelve statues from the bequest of the famous sculptor, Alajos Stróbl’s. Since then there can be seen memories statued for more than one hundred Hungarians. Many portraits (carved from stone, marble, bronze) of excellent Hungarian artists can be found there, mainly eminent artists of Hungarian History, Arts and Science as well. Among the most important ones there are statues ofFerenc Liszt, Mihály Munkácsy, Miklós Radnóti, Béla Bartók, Zoltán Kodály, Béla Balázs, Albert Szent-Györgyi, Immánuel Löw or Ferenc Kölcsey.