Istvan Szabo is one of the most critically acclaimed Hungarian film directors of the past few decades. In the 1960s and ’70s he directed auteur films in Hungarian, which explore his own generation’s experiences and recent Hungarian history (Apa (1966); Szerelmesfilm (1970); Tuzoltó utca 25. (1973)). For the public beyond art house cinema, his signature film trilogy consists of Mephisto (1981, winner of an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and a Cannes Award for the Best Screenplay), Colonel Redl (1984, winner of a Jury Prize at the Cannes Festival) and Hanussen (1988). He made a switch to English-language films with Meeting Venus (1991), Sunshine (1999), Taking Sides (2001) and most recently Being Julia (2004), which garnered an Oscar nomination for actress Annette Bening.
His most acclaimed films came from his work with famed Austrian actor Klaus Maria Brandauer, and his ongoing collaboration and friendship with cinematographer Lajos Koltai. In 1996 he was awarded with the Hungarian Pulitzer Memory Prize (not be confused with the original Pulitzer Prize) for his TV documentary series, “The hundred years of cinema”.