Austria | 70 MINUTES | English |
MISS UNIVERSE 1929
The master of turning old amateur films into works of art, Péter Forgács returns to the Tribeca Film Festival after winning its 2005 Best Documentary Award for El Perro Negro. In his new film, faded home movies of the Viennese Miss Universe 1929 reveal a grand, truly larger-than-life love story that spans Austria, Hungary and America, as well as the elegant '20s, the Holocaust and the Communist era. "Never a woman so beautiful has walked this earth," states Marci Tenczer of his love Lisl Goldarbeiter. Cousins on either side of the fading Austro-Hungarian empire-he in Szeged, Hungary; she in Vienna- they grew up linked by family and by the moving image, with Marci on one side of the camera and Lisl on the other. The beautiful Lisl became Miss Universe in 1929, traveling from Vienna to Texas and back again. Marci remained in Hungary, watching as anti-Semitism began to swell and as Europe began to fall apart, filming all the while. Their lives intertwine through the years, during World War II and finally in Hungary's Iron Curtain decades. Forgács excavates these memories from the tarnished images of Marci's home movies, shot between the 1900's and the 1980's. Within these stained, marked pictures lie a history of 20th-century Hungary, a document of Jewish life before and during the Nazi era, and, most unforgettably, the story of a love between two individuals. "These film diaries tell us something about what we can no longer touch or feel," writes Forgács, "and also show us the other side of the official history"-one where beauty, memory and love unite.