HU OSA 313 Árpád Ajtony Personal Papers (Ajtony Árpád gyűjteménye)

Identity statement

Reference code
HU OSA 313
Árpád Ajtony Personal Papers
1971 - 1992
Description level
Extent and medium (estimated)
Approx. 40 reels of 16 mm films. These were digitized and edited into 12 video files.
Extent and medium (processed)
12 Digital container, 0.01 linear meters


Name of creator(s)
Ajtony, Árpád
Archival history
Ajtony passed away in 2013, leaving most of his film heritage, approx. 40 reels of 16 mm film to his son, Daniel Ajtony in Paris, who donated the footage to OSA in year 2017. The donation was assisted by Gábor Klaniczay, Professor at CEU.

Content and structure

Scope and Content (Abstract)
The unique collection consists of the personal archival film heritage of the avant-garde experimental writer and filmmaker, Hungarian-born Árpád Ajtony. Ajtony passed away in 2013, leaving most of his film heritage to his widow in Paris, who donated the footage to OSA in year 2016. The films originally were produced on 16 mm reels, and include fully finished films as well as fragments, collected or produced by Ajtony. Although Ajtony has more works, only two fully completed films form part of the collection, one directed, and one written by Ajtony. An incomplete 26-minute black-and-white experimental film was for the first time digitized and edited into a silent film by OSA. Besides the “own footage” material the collection contains a substantial amount of “found footage”, which constitute the largest part of the collection. These are typically fragments of professional media broadcast material, or ‘media junk’. Paper documents or electronic records by Ajtony were not deposited at OSA.
Scope and Content (Narrative)
Ajtony's film heritage consists of three types of materials: his completed works; an unfinished film and raw materials; and his collection of found footage or media junk. Two completed works: The avant-garde short fiction film written and directed by Ajtony titled Drama (Dráma), produced in 1971 by Balázs Béla Stúdió, Budapest, tells the story of a writer and his muse. In Hungarian Chronicles (Magyar krónikák), screenplay co-written by Ajtony, and directed by Gyula Gazdag, three men and a woman revisit, both mentally and physically, their lives’ main events between 1956-1989 in Hungary. All of them had traumas in their lives. One of them survived his own execution, the other abandoned his Secret Service career to become a teacher, while the third was persecuted for his involvement in the 1956 revolution, and the woman became a widower too soon. An unfinished film: Two 16 mm celluloid reels contain footage of an unfinished experimental silent film. The film, working title Surány, is most probably an adaptation of the improvisational theater play The Breakfast of Adolf Kurtz. The raw, unedited footage documenting the performance survived, and was edited into a film by OSA in 2017 for the first time. The play was performed at a sand pit in Surány (Pest County, Hungary) in August 1972 at an open-air avant-garde theatre festival organized by the Kassák Theater. The events performed by free-spirited young men and women, the members of Péter Halász’s group, seem to unfold around a rape. The storyline was not documented, hence the film is a reconstruction by the editor at OSA, Darius Krolikowski. Media junk & own fragments: The largest part of Ajtony’s film heritage consists of numerous newsreel fragments and of some unedited raw material. The ‘media junk’ is a special newsreel collection, consisting of excerpts from professional international news agency footage from all over the world at around 1975. The colorful newsreel pieces are mainly revolving around politics and sports, with a strong interest in the Vietnam War, the United Nation and French governmental & diplomatic visits to various locations. After many hours of cleaning, sorting and digitizing, the films they were thematically arranged by OSA into eight topical compositions: Demonstrations, French visit, Military, Politics, Sport, United Nations, Vietnam, and Miscellaneous. Ajtony’s own 30 minute-long unedited moving image seems to be home movie fragments and raw material for potential projects. While there is no hard evidence, the comparison of Ajtony’s own fragmented footage and of the style of his first short film Drama suggests that Ajtony had a plan to weave the news fragments and his own footage into a film project. Ajtony’s motivations for collecting the media junk and creating his own film fragments remain a mystery, as the writer didn’t leave any instructions or description.

Not expected

Conditions of access and use

Conditions governing access
Not restricted
English, French, Hungarian


The celluloid films were transformatted into digital video by Zoltan Krizbai, video technician at OSA in 2016. The digital contents was edited into films and files by Darius Krolikowski, video editor in 2017-2018.

Azonosítási Adatcsoport

HU OSA 313
Ajtony Árpád gyűjteménye
1971 - 1992
Leírás szintje
Terjedelem, adathordozók (becsült)
40 kis tekercs 16 mm-es film. Ezek digitalizálása és szerkesztése után, révén keletkezett 12 videó fájl.
Terjedelem, adathordozók (feldolgozott)
12 Digitális gyűjtő, 0.01 folyóméter

Kontextusra vonatkozó adatcsoport

Az iratképző(k) neve
Ajtony, Árpád
A megőrzés története
Ajtony 2013-ban halt meg Párizsban. Filmes hagyatékát, kb. 40 tekercs 16 mm-es filmet a művész fia, Daniel Ajtony az OSA-nak adományozta 2017-ban. Közvetítő: Klaniczay Gábor, CEU professzor.

A tartalomra és a szerkezetre vonatkozó adatcsoport

Jövőbeni gyarapodás

Nem várható

A hozzáférésre és használatra vonatkozó adatcsoport

Jogi helyzet
Not restricted
Nyelv, írásrendszer
English, French, Hungarian