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In the fall of 1956, Hungary was one of many Eastern Bloc nations living under the thumb of the Soviet Union, but the people of Hungary stood up to the power of the U.S.S.R. and launched a rebellion that threatened to topple Soviet control of the country.
After thirteen days in which revolutionary forces took to the streets and demanded freedom, skirmishes with police led to an invasion by the Russian military, who crushed the budding revolt with tanks.
But the rebellion became a pivotal event in the ongoing Cold War, suggesting that the Soviet Union was not invulnerable despite the failure of the Hungarian revolt and providing a rallying point for future actions against the U.S.S.R. A handful of Hungarian film students used their camera to document the people's uprising and the subsequent Soviet invasion; two of them, Laszlo Kovacs and Vilmos Zsigmond, eventually fled Hungary and made their way to the United States, taking their footage of the revolt with them.
Kovacs and Zsigmond would in time become two of Hollywood's best respected cinematographers, and the footage they shot in 1956 has become the basis of Torn From The Flag, a documentary about the short-lived Hungarian revolution and how the event sowed the seeds for the end of Hungarian Communism in 1989. Kovacs served as Director of Photography for the new interview segments in Torn From The Flag; it was the last project he would work on prior to his death in the summer of 2007.