BALÁZS, BÉLA (1884–1949), Hungarian author and motion picture critic. Balázs was born in Szeged and studied at Budapest. After the revolution in 1918–19 he moved to Vienna and Berlin and finally settled in the U.S.S.R., where he lectured at the Moscow Film Academy. He returned to Hungary after World War II and taught at the Budapest Academy of Dramatic Art. Balázs' interest in philosophy is evident in all his writing. His books include Halálesztétika ("Aesthetics of Death," 1907), A tragédiának metafizikus teóriája ("Meta-physical Theory of Tragedy," 1908), and Dialógus a dialógusról ("Dialogue about the Dialogue," 1913). He also wrote poems and several plays, of which A kékszakállu herceg vára ("Duke Bluebeard's Castle," 1912), provided the libretto for an opera by Béla Bartók. Bartók also set to music Balázs' fairy-tale ballet, A fából faragott királyfi ("Wooden Prince," 1912). Balázs was a pioneer of motion picture criticism, and wrote two books on film technique (1952, 1961). The Hungarian communist regime established a prize in his name for work in cinema art.
E. Gyertyán, Balázs Béla és a film (1958); A. Komlós, in: B. Balázs, Az én utam (1960), introd.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.