Hungarian Palme d'Or Winner Shorts

Print presents a special programme for the Cannes International Film Festival. All the Hungarian Palme d'Or (Golden Palm) winning shorts have been collected by - The European Short Film Centre.

At, we seriously believe that digging out masterpieces from the past is just as important as finding new artworks. As our site is based in Hungary, we’ve looked into that past and selected all the short films of Hungarian film’s history to have won the revered Palme d'Or (Golden Palm) at Cannes International Film Festival. We now proudly present these films, with the hope that by making this collection available on-line we can fill a gap in Hungarian cultural heritage.

Even the most enthusiastic of Hungarian film lovers can be quite surprised to discover that there are five Golden Palm winning Hungarian shorts – with very few of them being able to name the films themselves. The aim of this special selection is to maneuver these hidden masterpieces into the spotlight.

János Vadász was the first winner of the award, with his experimental film, Overture, in 1965. This wonderfully photographed documentary tells a very natural and elementary story: the birth of a bird. However, the work is far from simple documentary, as Vadász used the camera in a particularly intimate way, in harmony with the music of Beethoven. Overture was also nominated for the Academy Award for the best short film in 1965.

Hungarian animation has always been in the forefront of the animation world - both technically and culturally. We’ve already presented Ferenc Rofusz's Academy Award winning short, The Fly, and now have other masterpieces to show.

In the late 70's, a new generation of animators began their careers - among them, Marcell Jankovics. The first recognition from the international film scene came in 1977, when Jankovics won the Palme d'Or with his exeptional film, Fight. There are but very few artworks from film history which are able to describe an abstract problem like the history of art, or the relationship between an artist and his artwork. Marcell Jankovics used very simple visual effects to draw, literally, a fight between a statue and a sculptor - the result being quite similar to the famous graphic work, Drawing Hands, by M. C. Escher.

Jankovics’ award can be seen as having launched the golden era of Hungarian animation. Ferenc Rofusz later won an Oscar in 1981, and Béla Vajda received the Palme d'Ore for his animation, Moto perpetuo – which takes usual situations from daily life in Hungary in the 80's as its subject matter. This film is very different in style to Fight, however, the critical approach of both is quite similar. In 1981, it was a very brave work indeed, realized with perfect technical features. Today, it’s amazing to see that neither the topic nor the technique seems any less relevant. Though the political system may have changed, and there are gorgeous 3D animations being made with computers, Moto perpetuo remains very true and utterly enjoyable.

Marcell Iványi's film, Wind, is definitely one of the classics of European short film culture: inspired by the Lucien Hervé photograph Three Women. Wind's unique "one-take" technique stems back to the Hungarian Cinematographic style of the 70's, which is probably one of the most well-known ages of this country's cinema. However, the director managed to create his own atmosphere, in which the slow rhythm and strict camera movements of the film perfectly describe our human nature in inhuman times. Wind won the Palme d'Or in 1996.

The last film in the list so far is After Rain, which won the Palme d'Or in 2002. This four-minute-long work is clear proof that a short film can handle a serious topic in an effective way, with impact, whilst retaining a distance from its actual subject. The bicycle ride of Kati is probably one of the most powerful scenes ever to have featured in a short film.