World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Béla Balázs

Béla Balázs c. 1910s
Béla Balázs on a 1984 Hungarian stamp

Béla Balázs (Hungarian: ; 4 August 1884, Szeged – 17 May 1949, Budapest), born Herbert Bauer, was a Hungarian-Jewish film critic, aesthete, writer and poet.


  • Career 1
  • Selected filmography 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Balázs was the son of German-born parents, adopting his nom de plume in newspaper articles written before his 1902 move to Budapest, where he studied Hungarian and German at the Eötvös Collegium.

Balázs was a moving force in the Sonntagskreis or Sunday Circle, the intellectual discussion group which he founded in the autumn of 1915 together with Lajos Fülep, Arnold Hauser, György Lukács and Károly (Karl) Mannheim. Meetings were held at his flat on Sunday afternoons; already in December 1915 Balázs wrote in his diary of the success of the group.[1]

He is perhaps best remembered as the librettist of Bluebeard's Castle which he originally wrote for his roommate Zoltán Kodály, who in turn introduced him to the eventual composer of the opera, Béla Bartók. This collaboration continued with the scenario for the ballet The Wooden Prince.

The collapse of the short-lived György Lukács, a close friend during their youth, became a bitter enemy during the ordeal of the Stalinist purges.

In Vienna he became a prolific writer of film reviews. His first book on film, Der Sichtbare Mensch (The Visible Man) (1924), helped found the German "film as a language" theory, which also exerted an influence on Sergei Eisenstein and Vsevolod Pudovkin. A popular consultant, he wrote the screenplay for G. W. Pabst's film of Die Dreigroschenoper (1931), which became the object of a scandal and lawsuit by Brecht (who admitted to not reading the script) during production.

Later, he co-wrote (with Carl Mayer) and helped Leni Riefenstahl direct the film Das Blaue Licht (1932).[2] Riefenstahl later removed Balasz's and Mayer's names from the credits because they were Jewish.[3] One of his best known films is Somewhere in Europe (It Happened in Europe, 1947), directed by Géza von Radványi.

His last years were marked by petty vexations at home and ever increasing recognition in the German-speaking world. In 1949, he received the most distinguished prize in Hungary, the Kossuth Prize. Also in 1949, he finished Theory of the Film, published posthumously in English (London: Denis Dobson, 1952). In 1958, the Béla Balázs Prize was founded and named for him as an award to recognize achievements in cinematography.

Selected filmography

See also


  1. ^ Mary Gluck (1985) Georg Lukács and His Generation, 1900–1918. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0674348664. pp. 14–16
  2. ^ 1931 „the blue light“.
  3. ^ Hanno Loewy: "Balazs' and Leni Riefenstahl's The blue Light. A martyr's story". Retrieved on 24 May 2015.

External links

  • Petri Liukkonen. "Béla Balázs". Books and Writers ( Archived from the original on 4 July 2013.
  • Works by Béla Balázs at Project Gutenberg
  • Works by or about Béla Balázs at Internet Archive
  • Works by Béla Balázs at Open Library
  • Béla Balázs at the Internet Movie Database
  • Article on the relationship between Riefenstahl and Balazs
  • Béla Balázs on's list of famous Hungarian Jews
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.