Wednesday, 23 August 2017


The story so far
Wordless video speaks volumes

Image result for andras peto

CE's Kremlin-watchers cannot fail to have noticed how, as the website goes quiet, the Pető Institute Facebook page, seems more active than it ever has been, publishing a steady stream of good-news PR materials. And whyever not? The end of this summer marks a welcome interregnum following the alarums and excursions of recent times, prior to the hard graft ahead to create whatever the new order will create.

Yesterday's Facebook offering is interesting. Without commentary or other dialogue (and therefore equally accessible to all who watch it, whatever language they speak) this offers a montage of short, archive film clips from the Pető Institute in some of its various manifestations over the years.

I offer here a short, personal vade mecum.

It starts off in black-and-white days, in the old Villányi út 67, with the well-known, classic snapshot that used to hang in András Pető's former room there. A Socialist-era minibus pulls into the gate, then inside the Institute ladies in iconic white coats work with school-age children in different settings.

Suddenly it is 1965, there is colour, and Janos Szantagothai is making his extempore speech at the opening of the new building in Kútvölgyi út, reminding that at times of need the Institute could count on public support from the highest level. Mária Hári gazes watchfully on. Shots of practice into the nineties include not just school groups but work with mothers and little children.

Then onwards into the twenty-first century and the practice selected for display looks increasingly informal, uniforms giving way to informal mufti for both conductors and children. Even archetypal wooden furniture gets a coat of paint. Older teenagers extend into out-door activities. There is sport and festival in the sun, reminder of work with adults, and  that students qualify and celebrate success. It ends with a winsome little boy, and bubbles...

The film shows that the Institute has history It has come a long way, and provides and projects a broad and complex range of activities. Style and narrative may have changed but an unspoken implication is of continuity. Things may be very different now in various ways, yet they remain much the same.

At least that is how this little four-minute film reads to me. Others may know the story better, and differently. They are welcome to make their own commentaries.

See the video yourself

After only eighteen hours on line getting on for six-thousand people have already liked. Many of those who read this posting will have already done so.

I should like to link here the rest of you straight to this video, but I cannot find a direct URL I can only direct you to the Facebook page and suggest that you scroll down to the date of 23 August.


– (2017) Életképek a Petőben [Pictures of life at Pető], Pető Intézet, Facebook, 23 August
(Scroll down to 23 August 2017)

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