One of the most prominent directors to emerge from the Hungarian New Cinema of the '60s, István Szabó has earned acclaim for films whose emotion, tenderness, and rage evoke stirring portraits of contemporary Hungarian history, particularly the effects of World War II on Hungarian society.
Born February 18, 1938, in Budapest, Szabó studied film at the city's prestigious Academy of Film Art. The acclaim he earned for a film he made while a student, Koncert (1961), won Szabó a place at the Béla Bálazs film studio, where he netted further acclaim for two shorts he made in 1963, Variáciòk egy témára and Te. Szabó then moved on to his first feature-length venture, Almodozasok Kora (1964). The warmth and lyricism of the drama, which focused on the hopes and dreams of four recently graduated engineers, was particularly evident in Szabó's next effort, Apa (1967). The story of a young man struggling with the heroic imagery that he has built around his father, who was killed in World War II, it received wide critical acclaim. Along with its predecessor, Apa put Szabó at the forefront of a new generation of Hungarian filmmakers.