1948, Budapest. Aldo is a 42-yr-old gynaecologist, a concentration camp survivor who lost his family in the war. He has returned to practice, but lives a reclusive life, nursing his trauma. 16-yr-old Klara rages at the world and is in fierce denial about the fate of her parents, convinced it is only a matter of time before they return. Crossing paths, the two lost souls, dissimilar in temperament and years apart, recognise something in each other. Klara vents her fury about the disappearance of her family, while Aldo quietly allows her to see photographs of his. Klara’s assertion that “It’s harder for us than for those who left” resonates with Aldo, and both begin to feel hope again as a nurturing relationship emerges and Aldo becomes Klara’s surrogate father. But now Stalinism has authority in Budapest – this and the opprobrium of small minds threatens their precious healing process.
Director Barnabás Tóth – “For me, this film is, first of all, an ode to a man who is totally wrecked but pulls himself together for one last time to save another half-destroyed soul. We’ve seen so many films about what happened before and during the Holocaust, but so few have shown us the fate of those who came back.” In his second feature, he delivers a sensitive and understated drama which eloquently examines the plight of the survivor. His leads are superb - Abigél Szőke has drawn particular praise, and both actors have won ‘Best’ awards at leading film festivals. The Hungarian submission for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2020 Academy Awards.
“Perceptively directed by Barnabás Tóth, it taps into a deep well of honestly earned emotion… In his sophomore feature, the France-born, Budapest-based helmer sensitively establishes and sustains an affecting but understated dramatic tone, aided by his superb leads.” - Alissa Simon, Variety.
“Szőke, just 17 at the time of filming, provides a mesmerizing portrait of a girl ascending to womanhood under a veil of rage and sadness.” - Larry Gross, Telluride Film Festival.
“Hajduk is superb as the downtrodden doctor, and Szőke imbues her teen rebel with a true radiance. Serious and often sad, yet also attuned to the joys of life, this is a lovely film.” - Vancouver International Film Festival.
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Károly Hajduk, Abigél Szõke, Mari Nagy, Barnabás Horkay, Katalin Simkó
Zsuzsa F. Várkonyi