Hungarian film-makers have long had success outside of their home country. Hungarians fled the region during and after the First and Second World Wars, many for the States, where over time they made their indelible mark on Hollywood. But there were others whose path took a different direction, and shaped film in other parts of the world.
Katerina 'Katinka' Faragó may be a Swedish film producer, but her name reveals her origins. Born in Vienna to Hungarian refugees, due to the spreading Second World War, she and her family ventured further abroad, north to Sweden. At 17 she started down her path in film, where she would spend a 60-plus year career, primarily in the production company of icon Ingmar Bergman, working with him on such classics as Wild Strawberries, The Seventh Seal, and Winter Light.
Beginning as a script supervisor, Faragó eventually earned the title of 'Bergman's right hand'. Heeding the advice given by a colleague, 'if he stares at you, stare back. If he spits on you, spit back,' Faragó was able to make herself invaluable to the tempestuous director, going on to work with him for the next 30 years, eventually earning the title of production manager at Bergman's company Cinematograph. In an interview, Faragó describes her experiences with Bergman: "He had a shocking reputation as a director, erupting in full-blown tantrums and proving himself extremely difficult to work with. Thankfully he calmed down over the years. This naturally was an issue of trust, and he knew that I never bluffed him. Ingmar is fond of women. He understands them better than men and recognises their potential. This fact is apparent in his films."
Elsewhere in the press, Faragó expressed that The Magic Flute and Fanny and Alexander were highlights of her career with Bergman. In The Magic Flute she had the complex job of working with opera singers, not to mention editing Mozart's music. The long process of making Fanny and Alexander would solidify Bergman and Faragó’s working relationship with pre-production alone lasting over a year. The film would become not just a popular art-house hit, but would win four Oscars, including Best Foreign Language Film.
Faragó’s next notable film project was when she worked as the production manager on Andrei Tarkovsky’s Sacrifice, filmed on the Swedish island of Gotland. Later that year she was appointed head of production at the Swedish Film Institute, a position she held until 1990. The post-Bergman 1990s years saw her working with renowned Swedish directors like Kjell-Åke Andersson and Daniel Alfredson.
More recently, Faragó was a jury member of the 43rd Berlin International Film Festival. In 2017 she received a Liftetime Achivement Award at Sweden's Guldbagge Awards. While we have no evidence she has kept much connection to Hungarian film outside of the interviews she has given, we still keep tabs on her, and wish her continued success in all her endeavors.
Text source: ingmarbergman.se
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