Tribute: Peter Hutton

Budapest Portrait (Memories of a City)

Peter Hutton
USA 1986
30 min

BUDAPEST PORTRAIT (MEMORIES OF A CITY) epitomizes Mr. Hutton’s austerely romantic worldview. The movie is a half-hour succession of moldering apartment houses and massive factories, a place of faded splendor and industrial funk, populated by lonely Stalinist monuments and revolutionary ghosts. Human presence is minimal and typically suggested at one remove by photographs, shadows or bullet holes. The city might be a stage set for an invisible drama. (Jim Hoberman) “In the years following my Berlin adventure I made films in Hungary (MEMORIES OF A CITY) and Poland (LODZ SYMPHONY). The Cold War was for me a time of forbidden pleasures, a time to wander across a landscape frozen in another era and fraught with abstract danger. It was exciting and mysterious. I became a peripatetic spy stealing dead history with my Bolex. In the Eastern Bloc countries I traveled to and filmed, I was frequently stopped by police and questioned. This never happened in West Berlin, despite all the anarchy of the 80’s and the feeling of living in a police state.” (Peter Hutton,

16 mm
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