La Vie d’un espion / The life of an Agent

The life of an Agent

Documentary, Hungary, 2004, 82 mn, Colour, O/ES

by Zsigmond Gábor Papp

This darkly ironic historical documentary The Life of an Agent stitches together a compilation of instructional films used in Cold War Hungary to train secret government police. Papp uses much screen time to draw striking aesthetic, stylistic and thematic parallels between those works and the Z-grade, cliché-ridden fictional thrillers of the day, thus demonstrating how the Hungarian government modeled its propaganda on the conventions of popular cinema.