Das Mädchen (Eltávozott nap)

Hungary 1968, Feature film, 85' | Director, Screenplay Márta Mészáros | DoP Tamás Somió | Editor Zoltan Farkas | Sound Zoltán Toldy | Music Levente Szörényi | Cast Kati Kovács, Teri Horváth, Adám Szirtes, András Kozák, Gábor Agárdy, Jácint Juhász | Distribution Arsenal - Institut für Film und Videokunst e.V.

Young female archers during training: Erzsi Szönyi takes aim, this time to hit the target. She is a young and reticent factory worker from Budapest, lives in a hostel and grew up in an orphanage, although she wasn't an orphan. Her mother gave away her illegitimate child so that she could get married. Erzsi decides, with the help of an announcement, to look for her mother. Mrs Zsámboki really does get in touch, and she invites Erzsi to come and see her. But the beginning turns into a disappointment because her married mother wants to keep her ”faux pas" from back then a secret from her husband and son, and passes off her daughter as her niece.

Over the course of a day, Erzsi gains an oppressive impression of life in the countryside. The women are all stooped, and wear head scarves. Erzsi goes bathing in the river, which is immediately the subject of gossip, it even seems to be a problem taking a walk through the village. Then Mr Zsámboki also starts making advances to his attractive “niece" from the big city. Erzsi leaves the village, and leaves not only the village, but the past behind her. Erzsi's life continues to be monotonous, until she gets to know a young man at a party for whom she has strong feelings. It is obvious from Eltávozott nap that Mészáros has gathered much experience in making documentaries: environment and milieu are portrayed precisely and objectively; the authenticity of the detail lends a powerful conviction to the film.


MÁRTA MÉSZÁROS was born in 1931 as the daughter of a sculptor and a German teacher. Her father was a committed member of the communist party of Hungary and emigrated with his family in 1936 to the Soviet Union. In 1938 her father was arrested in the course of the “great purge”. No trace of him was ever found after that. Soon afterwards, Márta Mészáros' mother died. Until her return to Hungary after the 2nd World War, Mészáros was looked after by a Hungarian foster mother. She returned to Moscow to study. In 1956, she finished studying at the Moscow Film School (VGIK). Back in Hungary, she made mainly documentaries at first. In 1968, she made her first feature film, with Eltávozott nap , the first feature film in Hungary to be made by a woman. She received international acclaim when she surprisingly won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 1975, with her film Adoption . Márta Mészáros assimilated her own experiences and those of her family into a series of diary films with autobiographical overtones.

Márta Mészáros, Marta Meszaros
Feature Film
Focus: Freedom