Excuse me, but who are you?
National Awards Day arrived in Hungary early last week, and the time came to present the medals for distinguished contributions to the arts. That's when the program came unglued. Not that avant-garde media artist/director Péter Forgács wasn't deserving of recognition, mind you. After all, he is internationally renowned for his documentary series "Private Hungary," a look at lives that were disrupted by some of the wrenching developments in the modern history of the former Iron Curtain country. His work has been collected by the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and his dozens of earlier honors have been presented at such prestigious venues as the Cannes Film Festival. So, when his name was called by the presenter, Péter Forgács rose from the audience and strode to the stage to collect his latest award. Just not the Forgács for whom it was intended. Nor did it dawn on anybody that a mistake was being made until Minister of Education and Culture István Hiller read aloud from the citation accompanying the medal. Oops. Alas, before him stood – not the celebrated filmmaker – but a namesake who happens to be an actor. OK, he does a little directing, too, but in theater, not film. Naturally, the mix-up was due to computer error, a Culture Ministry spokesman explained. As for the intended honoree, he wasn't even aware that he was to receive another award. But he knows now, and his medal will catch up with him later.