István Jávor

* 1948  

  • It was me who realized that time had come to record in movie our present, our environment as well as our circumstances in Hungary. I told about my idea to András Lányi who at once was very enthusiastic. It was him who created our name „Black Box”. I myself originally imagined it as a small business to be runned by only two persons, but he understood right then that this initiative had much more prospects. He contacted Márta Elbert who was then producer at the Film Company, Judit Ember, Gábor Vági, and we became the founding members of this business. We had our first meeting at the end of the summer of 1987 in Cafe Astoria. Also other people, like István Rév, István Jelenczky, Gábor Klaniczay, Bálint Magyar, and others from the democratic opposition came to there and listened to our ideas and discussed them. We decided to collect stories, cases, ideas about what to do. We had in mind to record different topics contemporarily. VHS cassettes were the storage type which we could get and afford in those days. We decided to record on them and later to cut the recordings, we didn’t know exactly where, and to copy the ready made materials on cassettes again what we would circulate in the ways samizdat papers were distributed.

  • Full recordings
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    Budapest, 06.09.2010

    duration: 03:00:39
    media recorded in project Oral History Archive - Budapest
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Time has come to record in movie our present, our environment as well as our circumstances in Hungary.

javor_regiportre.jpg (historic)
István Jávor
photo: családi

Cameraman, photographer, producer and teacher. István Jávor was born on May 23, 1948 in Budapest. His father was retailer, his mother was dressmaker, later both of them earned their livings as handicraftsmen. István Jávor attended Kölcsey Secondary School between 1962 and 1964. After he had been sent down, he could graduate at Merse Szinyei Secondary School in 1966. Between 1966 and 1969 he made apprenticeship in photographing. He began his time in the military service in 1969, but he was set free in half a year. He worked as button agent, later as retailer of second-hand articles. Between 1973 and 1987 he was employed by MAFILM where as photographer he made stand photos. At the Hungarian film company he got acquainted with the life of Hungarian gipsies, and he met the sociologist István Kemény and his followers. The underground lectures of the so-called Monday Free University were held in his flat between 1979 and 1981 where he met most of those who would form the democratic opposition movement. He took part in the making and in the distribution of samizdat papers. He travelled a lot to Transylvania and to Subcarpathia to make photos on the local societies which he circulated in oppositional circles. At the beginning of the eigthies he got in contact with the film makers and films of Béla Balázs Stúdió and he himself began to make movies under their influence. He recorded video interviews with members of the democratic opposition, he interviewed the sociologist and former prime minister András Hegedüs, 56-ers, the writer István Eörsi, the communist politician Pál Demény, the journallist Gyula Obersovszky, Sándor Rácz, Zsolt Csalog, Miklós Krassó and others. Finally in 1985 he could buy a camera and he started his own film making business. He was one of the founders and leaders of Black Box Foundation in 1987 which recorded in movie the events of the present. Thus he made records as cameraman on the political protests of the opposition which led to the change of the political regime, on the meetings of the Roundtable Talks, on the revolution in Roumania as well as he made a few interviews with politicians of the political opposition. He’s begun to make documentaries on the life of marginalized people and of minorities since the 1990s. He organized training courses in audiovisual culture for gipsy students since 1996. He was one of the trustees of the Straw Foundation which helped homelesses and was one of the founders of Caveat Association which aimed at defending old blocks of flats in Budapest. He teaches visual culture at Lauder Javne Jewish Community School.