Merry Go Round

Fabri Zoltan

Hungary, 1955


In a rural area lives a humble but promising young farmer girl called Mari Pataki. Her father forbids her from seeing the man she loves. The father, preoccupied above all with work in the fields and prospective wealth, decides to marry his daughter with an old, but rich, man with whom he does business. Land marries land, he says. This seems to be the unyielding rule of the Hungarian peasantry. The young lover, however, is ready to stand up to any challenge that comes his way.


Zoltán Fábri

Zoltán Fábri (15 October 1917 – 23 August 1994) was a Hungarian film director and screenwriter. His films The Boys of Paul Street (1969)[1] and Hungarians (1978)[2] were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. His 1965 film Twenty Hours shared the Grand Prix with War and Peace at the 4th Moscow International Film Festival.[3] His 1969 film The Toth Family was entered into the 7th Moscow International Film Festival.[4] His 1975 film 141 Minutes from the Unfinished Sentence was entered into the 9th Moscow International Film Festival, where he won a Special Prize for Directing.[5]

Fábri wanted to become an artist from an early age on. He studied painting and graduated at the Hungarian College of Fine Arts. He began working in the Hungarian film industry in 1950 as a production designer. He directed his first film Vihar (Storm) in 1951. He became an internationally acclaimed director with his third feature Körhinta (Merry Go-Round) in 1956. He continued directing and writing until the early 1980s. After his retirement from the film industry Fábri taught on the Hungarian University of Theatrical and Film Arts. In his last years he wrote screenplays; they were never made. Fábri was also the president of the Hungarian Film Artist Union from 1959 to 1981.

Fábri’s style of filmmaking can be described mainly as “classical”, using academic techniques of art filmmaking. His greatest influences were the Italian Neorealism and French Poetic Realism. He experimented with narrative and flashback techniques for a while in the 1960s (in his films Nappali sötétség and Húsz óra) and his 1976 film Az ötödik pecsét contains some highly surrealist scenes, but overall he never used the mannerisms of modernist film in his works. For this reason the Kádár regime favored Fábri over more controversial and experimental directors like Miklós Jancsó. The film won the Golden Prize at the 10th Moscow International Film Festival[6] and was entered into the 27th Berlin International Film Festival.[7]

At the 11th Moscow International Film Festival in 1979, he was awarded with the Honorable Prize for the contribution to cinema.[8]

He was known as a perfectionist who wrote, drawn and choreographed every scene to the most precise detail months before production began and never improvised anything. His reputation as a rigid, tyrannical director was somewhat contradicted by his friendly and kind behaviour towards the British and American child actors on the set of The Boys of Paul Street.

Fábri made nearly all of his films based on literary material (novels or short stories) and wrote the screenplays himself. His constant theme was the question of humanity. Many of his films are set in or around World War II. Two of his frequent collaborators were actress Mari Törőcsik and cinematographer György Illés. In 1969 he played the role of prosecuted statesman Zoltán Dániel in his friend Péter Bacsó’s cult satire, A tanú (The Witness) as his sole acting job.


  • Déryné (1951) – production designer
  • Vihar / Storm (1951) – director
  • Erkel (1952) – production designer
  • Életjel / Fourteen Lives (1954) – director
  • Dandin György, avagy a megcsúfolt férj (1955) – production designer
  • Körhinta / Merry Go-Round (1956) – director, screenwriter, production designer
  • Hannibál tanár úr / Professor Hannibal (1956) – director, screenwriter
  • Bolond április / Summer Clouds (1957) – director, production designer
  • Édes Anna / Sweet Anna (1958) – director, screenwriter, production designer
  • Dúvad / Brute (1961) – director, screenwriter
  • Két félidő a pokolban / The Last Goal) (1962) – director, screenwriter, production designer
  • Nappali sötétség / Darkness in Daytime (1963) – director, screenwriter, production designer
  • Vízivárosi nyár / Hard Summer (TV series) (1964) director
  • Húsz óra / Twenty Hours (1965) – director
  • Útószezon / Late Season (1966) – director
  • A Pál-utcai fiúk / The Boys of Paul Street (1969) – director, screenwriter
  • Isten hozta, őrnagy úr! / The Tóth Family (1969) – director, screenwriter
  • A tanú / The Witness (1969) – actor
  • Hangyaboly / Ant Hill (1971) – director, screenwriter
  • Plusz-mínusz egy nap / Plus-Minus One Day (1973) – director, screenwriter
  • 141 perc a befejezetlen mondatból / 141 Minutes from the Unfinished Sentence (1975) – director
  • Az ötödik pecsét / The Fifth Seal (1976) – director, screenwriter
  • Magyarok / Hungarians (1978) – director, screenwriter
  • Fábián Bálint találkozása Istennel / Bálint Fábian Meets God (1980) – director, screenwriter
  • Requiem (1981) – director, screenwriter
  • Gyertek el a névnapomra / Housewarming (1983) director, screenwriter


Director: Fabri Zoltan

Script: Sarkadi Imre original novel, Fabry Zoltan

Cinematography: Barnabas Hegyi

Art direction: Ranky Gyorgy

Editing: Ferencne Szecsenyi

Music: Ranky Gyorgy

Color: Color

Duration: 90’

Soos Imre – Biro Mate
Torocsik Mari – Pataki Mari
Szirtes Adam – Farkas
Sandor Barsi Bela – Pataki
Istvan Kiss Manyi – Mrs. Pataki

1956 Cannes Film Festival – Nominee Palme d’Or – Zoltán Fábri





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