Prime Minister Viktor Orbán congratulated Oscar-winning director István Szabó on his 80th birthday in a letter on Thursday.
In the letter presented to the director by the prime minister’s commissioner for strategic social relations and cinematographer Lajos Koltai, Orbán praised Szabó as an artist who, rather than strive for self-fulfillment, dedicated his life to telling stories about Hungary and central Europe, fates and beliefs, rebellion and expedience and strategies for surviving oppressive ideologies.
Szabó introduced a broad audience to multiple chapters of 20th century Hungarian history and valuable works of Hungarian literature, Orbán said.
István Szabó is the most internationally famous Hungarian filmmaker since the late 1960s. The Hungarian director made his first short film in 1959 as a student, and his first feature film in 1964. Five of Szabó’s films have been nominated for Academy Awards, of which Mephisto delivered Hungary’s first Oscar for best foreign language film in 1982.