The Bishop's Garden
(A püspök kertje)

documentary, video, 57 minutes

PREMIER (HUNGARY): 2002.

An old man is taking a walk in a garden pondering among the grass of memories. The garden and the house are the dwelling of László Ravasz, a retired bishop of the Reformed Church. For many years he had lived in this house in Leányfalu, and he welcomed many guests here, among them pastors, celebrities and friends. László Ravasz was a bishop of great authority between 1921 and 1948. From 1927 he became a Member of Parliament’s Upper House and then of the Governmental Crown Council. His controversial personality and the political role he took on left their mark on the tragic history of Hungary in the first half of the 20th century. This changed considerably after 1950, since first he was exiled to Leányfalu by Mátyás Rákosi, and then in 1957 by János Kádár in order to break the sovereignty of the church and the faith of adherents. The lyrical family film shots and snapshots made by László Ravasz Jr., who is a chemist as well as a talented photographer, paint a portrait of his large family over a period of a generation following them from the early thirties to the late sixties. The shots evoke the world of religious dignitaries and the Christian middle class before the war, and all this is framed by the garden, the lights of the weekend house in Leányfalu. One of László Ravasz's son-in-laws, the husband of his oldest daughter Boriska, was István Bibó, a prominent figure of 20th century Hungarian political thought, as well as that of the revolution of 1956. This film – the Ravasz-Bibó double portrait: The Bishop and the Philosopher 2 – is a counterpoint to ”A Bibó Reader”. The Bible-musings of the bishop meditating in the garden recall his beliefs relating to faith, while his speeches in Parliament evoke his political convictions, and the audience is given the choice to evaluate him, and our common past.

Creators

Péter Forgács Director
Péter Forgács Screenplay
László Ravasz Jr. Director of photography
Katalin Juhász Editor
Gordiusi Csomó, Tibor Szemző Music
Zoltán Vadon Sound
Péter Forgács Producer
For-Creation Ltd. Production company
Péter Forgács, Tibor Szemző Narrator

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