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East Punk Memories

A film by Lucile Chaufour

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"You're just a street kid, you'll never be a Party Secretary!"

"Maybe you don't even exist, you don't want this life anymore!"

"Communist drug, no seduction needed!"

When the Hungarian punk band QSS launched into their anthemic song "Communist Drug" from the 1984 album Kommunista Kabito (or "Communist Stunning"), these explosive lyrics resonated in hearts and eardrums across the country.

How do those same musicians feel, thirty years after the fall of communism in Hungary, about the role their music played in their country's history?

Fellow musician and contributor to the Hungarian punk record label Makhno Records, Lucile Chaufour is uniquely suited to find out. In EAST PUNK MEMORIES she takes viewers into the little-known subculture behind the mohawks.

Candid, home movie-esque Super 8mm footage that Chaufour filmed in Hungary during punk's heyday is paired with contemporary interviews of the same musicians today. They bring a generation of experience to this resonant discussion of the position their music and culture has played in their country's political evolution with the passage of time.

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EAST PUNK MEMORIES includes interviews with musicians Kelemen Balazs, Toth Miklos, Mozsik Imre, Marton Attila, Papp Zoltan Gyorgy, Vanyi Tamas, Rupaszov Tamas, Horvath Attila, Erds Jozsef, Vojtko Dezs, Asztalos Ildiko and Torjek Tunde while their punk bands Aurora, Bandanas, CPG, ETA, Kretens and Modells rock out on the pulsing, thrashing and cannily dissenting soundtrack.

"In the mid-eighties, defying local regulations that prohibited illegal filmmaking, Lucile Chaufour shot Super8 material about a group of Hungarian punks and how they were struggling under the communist regime. More than twenty years later, she returned several times to interview the same people about what it was like to be a punk in Hungary, what punk stood for back then and how it has changed since and also how they see life in Hungary before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Is this what they struggled for?" RNR666

"An important contribution to a more nuanced picture of everyday life under communism... an invaluable resource to how we approach the decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall... Undergraduates in courses on Eastern Europe or history of music will delight in this glimpse of the Iron Curtain punk scene; senior scholars will find much here to begin new research." Benita Blessing, Journal of Contemporary European History

Margaret Mead Film Festival at the American Museum of Natural History
Young Jury Award, Cinema du Reel International Documentary Festival
Lisbon International Independent Film Festival
This Human World Film Festival, Vienna

51 minutes / Color
English subtitles
Release: 2015
Copyright: 2014

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Subject areas:
Adolescence, Cold War Era, Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Eastern Europe, History (World), Hungary, Music, Politics, Sociology

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