A physical theatre version of Jean Genet’s play The Blacks was performed in a cellar-theatre in Budapest by the alternative theatre company, Domino in 1970. Led by Miklos Kollo, the company was regularly banned by the Communist regime. The Blacks was closed down after only a few performances after tickets were sold for triple price on the blackmarket.
The film Black Symphony is a (film) adaptation of this (theatre) adaptation. A double mirror which reflects both the contemporary French and Hungarian theatre and our deeply hidden desire for freedom. Though Black Symphony is a double interpretation and a twofold transformation of a provoking play it still remains just as provoking as the play itself.
This unique experimental film is a rare example of avantgarde – underground film culture in the 1960-70 in Eastern Europe. It also contains invaluable archival footage of a ritualistic physical performance style which later became known through Grotowski’s work.
Towards the end of the 50 years of Communism Hungary was considered as "the happiest barack of the socialist hemisphere". The film industry in Hungary was a "socialist establishment” with strict criteria for funding and heavy censorship. Outside the mainstream film studio an alternative film culture emerged. The”playground” for young people was the filmclub movement which soon became a prestigious, independent, creative circle with an audience of its own. The Balazs Bela Studio became internationally known as the creative hub of independent film makers. The theatre of Eötvös Loránd University functioned as the centre of progressive creative art of all kinds.