Sweet Emma, Dear Böbe (Édes Emma, drága Böbe)

(1991, feature, color, 81 minutes)

The heroines in the title of this dramatic story are young women who taught Russian at primary school during the former regime. But times have changed. After the fall of Communism, Russian is no longer a compulsory subject in schools. Böbe and Emma try to requalify as English teachers, but they only remain one step ahead of their pupils. They don’t fare much better in their private lives, either. They can’t afford their own flat, so they have to share a room in a hostel. What’s more, Emma is having an affair with the school’s married headmaster which is going nowhere, and Böbe gets into trouble with the police for her lucrative liaisons with wealthy foreigners. Their aspirations that the new post-Communist environment would allow them the kind of social status they enjoyed under the old regime, essentially come to nothing… This impressionistic essay tells of the loss of an outwardly secure world built on false foundations.

The film by legend of Hungarian film István Szabó won the Silver Bear at the Berlin IFF, and the European Film Award for Best Screenplay.

Awards

European Film Academy - 1992

Félix Prize for Best European Screenplay - István Szabó, Nominated for Best European Actress - Johanna Ter Steege

Roma Independent Film Festival - 1992

Berlin International Film Festival - 1992

Silver Bear

Lagów International Film Festival - 2000

Diamond Grapes Prize

National premiere:
1991