The Hungarian filmmaker Péter Forgács is one of the most prominent so-called found footage filmmakers. In particular home movies and amateur films serve as the basis of stories he reveals and compose by using recovered personal and historical events.
He is primarily interested in the way in which these films seem to depict only happy moments, but on closer consideration they also appear to tell a hidden history, which can be brought back to the surface by the recycling filmmaker.
In the travelogue The Danube Exodus, he documents the Jewish exodus from Slovakia just before the beginning of World War II. In two boats, a group of nine hundred Slovak, Austrian Jews tried to reach the Black Sea via the river Danube, in order to get to Palestine from there. Forgács based his film on the amateur films of Captain Nándor Andrásovits, the captain of one of the boats.
He filmed his passengers while they prayed, slept and even got married. At the end of this journey, it is clear that the boat will not return empty: a reverse exodus takes place, this time of repatriating Bessarabian Germans, fleeing to the Third Reich because of the Soviet invasion of Bessarabia . . .
Director • Péter Forgács
Music •Tibor Szemző
Editor • Kati Juhász
Sound mix • Zsolt Hubay
Music performed by • the Gordian Knot Company
Music recording • István Horváth
Video graphics • Zoltán Vida
Film restoration • Márton Kurutz
special thanks to:
Miri Tikotsky, Jehuda Tamir, Nahum Katzberg, Jesohua Helevi, Lola Gubi, Edit Horavsky, Mordechay Adler, Ella Fano, Guido Fano, Helmuth Fink, Nomi Ben-Nathan Schory, Salo Deutch, Gabriel Bar Shaked, Perec Révész, Hansi Brand, Josef Goral, Dalia Ofer, Ingo Rüdiger Isert, Martin Smok, János Varga, dr. Erzsébet Molnár, István Rónai, András Forgách and Judit Scherter
1999 • Documentary Grand Prize: Budapest Film Festival
1999 • The Silver Dragon Prize and FIPRESCI Prize: Krakow International Documentary Film Festival
2000 • One World International Film Festival • Prague, Czech Republic
2000 • Thessaloniki Documentary Festival • Thessaloniki, Greece
2000 • New York Jewish Film Festival • New York, USA
1999 • Prix Europa • Berlin, Germany
1999 • Viennale 99 • Vienna, Austria
1999 • Dokument Art • Neubrandenburg, Germany
1999 • Eureka Screenings • Athens, Greece
1999 • San Francisco Jewish Film Festival • San Francisco, USA
1999 • International Documentary and Short Film Festival • Krakow, Poland
1999 • Hungarian Film Festival • Budapest, Hungary
1998 • International Documentary Filmfestival • Amsterdam, Netherlands