Hungarian director Ferenc Kosa, winner in Cannes, dies at 81

Hungarian director Ferenc Kosa, winner in Cannes, dies at 81
FILE - This March 15, 2017 file photo portrays Hungarian film director Ferenc Kosa in Budapest. Kosa has died on Dec. 12, 2018, at the age of 81. He directed thirteen films between 1961 and 1988. As a lawmaker for the Socialist Party, MSZP between 1990 and 2006 Kosa played an instrumental role in drafting the country's new film act. (Attila Kovacs/MTI via AP, FILE) (Attila Kovacs)

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Ferenc Kosa, winner of the best director award at the 1967 Cannes film festival, has died at 81, the Hungarian Academy of Arts said Wednesday.

Kosa was recognized in Cannes for "Ten Thousand Days," about the travails of a Hungarian peasant family from the 1930s onward. The film was banned for a few years by officials in communist Hungary because of its references to the 1956 anti-Soviet revolution.

"Through his talent and commitment, (Kosa) played a defining role in the renovation of the Hungarian film artistry of the era," the Hungarian Academy of Arts said. "'Ten Thousand Days' belongs by now to the classical assets of not just Hungarian, but universal film history."

Kosa co-wrote many of his scripts with poet and author Sandor Csoori and often worked with cinematographer Sandor Sara. Among the trio's works are "Ten Thousand Days," ''Judgment" (1970) and "Snowfall" (1974).

"Kuldetes" ("Mission"), his 1977 portrait of Andras Balczo, winner of a total of three gold and two silver medals in the modern pentathlon at three Olympic Games, was a big success in Hungary but later banned for its criticism of the communist system.

Upon Hungary's return to democracy in 1990, Kosa was a founder of the Socialist Party and a parliamentary lawmaker from 1990 to 2006. He played a key role in drafting Hungary's film and media laws, since greatly amended.

Kosa was born in Nyiregyhaza, northeastern Hungary, on Nov. 21, 1937.