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KAZÁR

Kazár: from the Cradle to the Grave introduces the traditional and highly elaborate folk costume of Kazár, a small village in north-eastern Hungary. This region is called the Palóc region, located in and around Nográd County near the Slovak border. The film shows men and women, children and adults from the village of Kazár, each of them wearing the folk costume which is appropriate to their age – from the baby in the cradle until the woman who is dressed for her own burial (she is not dead, just demonstrating what she would be dressed in after she died).

The film unfolds somewhat like a fashion show – with a first look ‘behind the scenes’ as the women of Kazár are dressed in the multiple layers of skirts and ornate head dresses, especially the complex and breathtaking bride’s dress and veil – one of the most beautiful in Hungary. Then each one is introduced and her dress explained by Lidia Bodor, who spent over three years collecting information about exactly who wore what and when. The film is accompanied by music from Kazár, by the Kabar folk group whose members grew up in Kazár.

This film is extremely important for ethnographers and those interested in the folk costumes of Hungary – precisely because these folk costumes are no longer worn on a daily basis. In many villages these folk costumes are worn only during special occasions or only by dance troupes, so you only see the costumes worn by young men and women, or perhaps those worn by a few traditionalists at weddings. But the full-spectrum of the folk costume – the costumes worn by all generations from small children to the older women and men - is often forgotten, and as the old pieces are sold or discarded, they may become completely extinct. When the older generation dies – the last ones to wear the folk costumes on a daily or regular basis – there will be no one who can talk about what these looked like.

When Lidia began her research in 2005, 18 people – mainly older women – still wore the Kazár folk costume every day. By the time she finished her research in 2008 and organized the first ‘fashion show,’ the number was down to 9, and all those women are over 80 years old. Since then she has organized a number of ‘fashion shows,’ – bringing more attention to the village she grew up in, herself often wearing Kazár’s traditional dress.

The goal of the film’s creators – Réka Pigniczky and Lidia Bodor – was to document Lidia’s Kazár ‘fashion show,’ to create a film that would serve as an archive for her three years of research. Perhaps in 100 years, it will be this film that people will consult to understand what the people of Kazár wore in the past. But the film also reveals new information: during her research, Lidia uncovered new (forgotten) elements in her discussions with older men and women in the village: garments and decorations and materials that were used earlier, but have since been forgotten. All these are part of the film as well. The film also includes a number of archive photos of how the folk costume was worn in the past.