The way it was?: fashioning history in Diary Film – I was 12 in’56

This article looks at Diary Film – I was 12 in ’56 / Naplófilm – 12 voltam 56-ban (Boglárka Edvy, animator, and Sándor Silló, director, 2006), a documentary based on a child's diary written during the 1956 Hungarian uprising against Soviet hegemony, in the context of theories of history, memory and knowledge. The diary is the core material. But the documentary's idiosyncratic use of archival materials, recreated images and animations pave the way for the filmmakers to engage with history anew. The observations, interests and understandings of the child provide information that nourishes the filmmakers’ and spectators’ interpretation of Budapest in 1956, not only empowering the voices of subjects whose version of history has often remained unexplored, but also, by disrupting conventional modes of reception, forcing viewers to decipher and assemble, engaging them in the construction of historical knowledge.