Telling tales

July 5, 2022


Writer and director Balint Szentgyörgyi discusses the political and cultural influences that inspired A besúgó (The Informant), HBO’s 1980s-set Hungarian thriller about a student living a double life as a government spy.

Set in a time before he was born, Balint Szentgyörgyi’s debut television series A besúgó (The Informant) has its origins in the writer and director’s fascination with life under Communism in his home country of Hungary.

Tackling themes of political activism and espionage, the series begins in 1985 when Geri (Gergely Váradi) arrives in Budapest to begin his studies at the University of Economics. On his first day, he joins a group of young democratic opposition activists who organise protests against the ruling communist regime. After Geri befriends activist leader Zsolt Száva (Márton Patkós), his life changes overnight as he throws himself into a world of girls, parties and heated political debates.

But Geri is actually a reluctant informant for the state security department, forced to spy on Száva in return for the medication that will keep his seriously ill brother alive.

In this DQTV interview, Szentgyörgyi reveals why he wanted to tell a story of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary events, and how American thrillers and coming-of-age series influenced his interest in filmmaking. He also breaks down his approach to directing and the writing process behind the show.

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