Price: $210.00

    Code: 2217

    Directed by Astrid Bussink
    2005, 34 minutes
    Purchase: $210 Classroom Rental: $65

    In a small, sleepy village in the Hungarian countryside, after the First World War, a series of arsenic murders took place. Over 140 bodies were discovered. The victims, all men, were apparently killed by their wives.

    The Angelmakers is a fascinating and brilliantly irreverent documentary that reconstructs the murders from conversations with the town's present, mostly elderly, inhabitants - many of whom remember the murders themselves or heard the stories from their parents or grandparents. Through recollections, anecdotes and sometimes foggy memories, different pieces of the story slowly emerge, and gradually an intriguing web of circumstance and motivation begins to appear. The idea was first suggested by a local midwife. The arsenic was extracted from flypaper and added in tiny doses to the husbands' meals. The marriages were all arranged. Women weren't allowed a life outside their homes. Many of them were beaten by their husbands who returned from the First World War wounded, crippled and estranged.

    The townspeople also reflect on how little has changed over the years. While women in the village today have a small amount of freedom, with divorce being an option, they must still fight for certain rights and privileges.

    Alternating between the inhabitants' first-person narrations and vivid portraits of the countryside, The Angelmakers considers the social, economic and cultural factors behind one of the most extreme examples of female uprising in history.

    Subjects & Collections

    Festivals & Awards

    * Winner, First Appearance Award, Amsterdam Documentary Festival, 2006
    * Winner, Jury Prize, Visions du Reel Film Festival, Switzerland, 2006
    * Winner, Best Documentary Short, European Independent Film Festival, 2006
    * Winner, Best Short Documentary, Dokfest Film Festival, 2006
    * Winner, Small Stamp Award, Zagreb Dox, International Documentary Film Festival, 2006
    * Official Selection, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, 2006
    * Official Selection, Flaherty Film Seminar, 2006
    * Official Selection, Cinema du Reel, France, 2006
    * Official Selection, Women's Film Festival, Seoul, South Korea, 2006


    “Astonishing viewing! A beautifully poignant tale that avoids sensationalism as it unravels the village’s open secret.” – The Times (UK)

    “What is great about documentaries is that they often present stories which are stranger than fiction, stories that seem to be straight out of a novel or a fiction film. Astrid Bussink’s The Angelmakers tells one such tale…” – DOX Magazine

    “A wicked and delightful yarn! An intriguing tale by a young filmmaker who has added all the right ingredients and turned history into atmospheric and compelling viewing…. Oddly refreshing, this documentary not only raises social, economic, and cultural issues, it gives us a glimpse into a town still nursing the secrets of its dark past.” – Leonardo Reviews

    “With structural density, black humour, poetry and compassion for the characters, the director reveals a story that, only at first sight, could be seen as a historical one. This is definitely a film by a young filmmaker who has already mastered many of the elements of the art of documentary filmmaking.” – Jury of the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam

    “A rich classroom resource for discussion... Highly recommended for Eastern European studies, women’s and gender issues, marriage, domestic violence, patriarchy, and women’s empowerment.” – Educational Media Reviews Online