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Award-winning documentary 'Torn from the Flag' part of Frack Fest

This weekend’s Frack Fest, an annual celebration “underground multimedia,” happens to fall on the 60th anniversary of the Hungarian revolution of 1956. 

The uprising, which was one of the first major blows to communism, undermined the Soviet-installed government for 18 days before it was crushed by massive Soviet military incursions.  “Torn from the Flag,” an award-winning 2007 documentary, chronicles the revolution through archival footage and recent interviews with participants on all sides of the conflict. Frack Fest is showing the film at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22.

The film is a fascinating record of how what began as a student uprising very rapidly expanded, occupied some key locations, and took control of the country for a few days. This is before internet; mass communication was radio, television, and newspapers. The persons involved on both sides talk about their experiences and provide a range of individual perspectives.

The filmmakers, Endre Hules and Klaudia Kovacs, have done an excellent job of making a real story out of what might be a mere recitation of historical elements. They have told the story in as linear a fashion as possible, yet just when viewers might think they know what is happening and who the players are, more information arrives and changes the perspective. The result is a powerful and moving documentary that is engaging and inspiring.

Recent cinematography is by Zoltan Nonti and Laszlo Kovacs; they have provided some unexpected clarity in the images of people who were damaged by the uprising and its brutal and retributive aftermath. The mood of the piece is enhanced by the music provided by Chris Horvath.

The film is almost entirely subtitled, and it takes a few minutes to settle into the rhythm of reading the words and absorbing the images as they go by. Speakers use English, Hungarian, Russian and Italian; lest we forget who they are, their names and descriptions are repeated from time to time. Beware ignoring those repetitions: they often contain important new information.

Some of the descriptions of military violence and torture are graphic and disturbing. They are supposed to be. These things happened to people or were done to people, and those who hear/see these images should be disturbed. The film illustrates the power of grassroots efforts and of government retribution, as well as the potential ugliness of both.

Oklahoma City filmmaker, director and restauranteur George Adams is an associate producer on the film; his restaurant, NOIR Bistro & Bar is also a partner in the Frack Fest event. Klaudia Kovacs is the producer of “Torn from the Flag,” with Laszlo Kovacs, Andrew Senyei and Vilmos Zsigmond serving as executive producers. For more information about the film itself, go to

“Torn from the Flag” will be shown at 7 p.m. on Oct. 22 in the Paramount Cinema. Festival tickets, sold at the door, are $10 per day or $25 for a three-day, all-access pass. The film is 97 minutes. Go to for more information, including the complete festival schedule.