14-year-old György's life is torn apart in World War II Hungary as he is sent to a concentration camp where he is forced to become a man, and learns to find happiness in the midst of hatred, and what it really means to be Jewish.
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An Hungarian youth comes of age at Buchenwald during World War II. György Köves is 14, the son of a merchant who's sent to a forced labor camp. After his father's departure, György gets a job at a brickyard; his bus is stopped and its Jewish occupants sent to camps. There, György find camaraderie, suffering, cruelty, illness, and death. He hears advice on preserving one's dignity and self-esteem. He discovers hatred. If he does survive and returns to Budapest, what will he find? What is natural; what is it to be a Jew? Sepia, black and white, and color alternate to shade the mood. Written by
The production unexpectedly ran out of money halfway through and halted for several months in order to find new investors. This ended up working in its favor, since the young lead actor Marcell Nagy was going through puberty, and by the time they restarted he looked physically more mature, taller, and his voice deeper. By the time his character enters and survives the death camps he looks years older than when the film began, adding an element of reality that otherwise would have been created with make up See more »
I didn't go to school today. Well, if only to ask my teacher to let me go home. I gave him father's letter. He asked what the reason was. I told him father had been called up for forced labor.
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I saw this on a trip recently to Hungary and i have to say that I was really impressed. It stands up against the bigger movies made regarding this subject, and it stands proudly. It didn't try to tackle the enormity of the Holocaust as one user suggested, rather it tried (and succeeded in my opinion) in tackling the story and fate (or lack thereof) of a young Jewish- Hungarian boy during the second world war. How would one explain this sudden shift in reality to a boy who is still in the process of maturing? How much can he possibly understand? When the ordeal is finished, could anything be "real" again afterwords? I thought the subject matter was challenging enough for it to warrant a second viewing. Marcel Nagy is spectacular, the director chose an amazing face and voice for the part, the character's attitude towards what's happening is shockingly mature and disaffected. He doesn't break down crying, or screaming , "why?!", he simply accepts that this has happened and tries to deal with it almost entirely inside his head. he is an introvert, speaking softly, and politely to those around him. he doesn't ask too many questions because he already thinks he knows all the answers. and these terrible answers are projected to the audience with the use of his powerful blue eyes, and his vital facial expressions. (There are two scenes I think where the boy looks directly into the camera and makes eye contact with you, the audience and I almost burst out crying..) the look of the film was what made the rest so sublime, the grays and blues were so dis-enchantingly beautiful, and for you that it's somehow immoral to make a 'holocaust' film as beautiful as this one keep in mind the colors and look reflect only the beautiful mind of the boy. best way i could describe this is a 'dreamy nightmare'. there are no acts of violence (some minor, but no guns mowing down innocents like Schindler's List), just a quiet, reflective look at the human condition, which makes it especially relevant today, especially back here in the States... I think the main problem people had with this film was they were expecting something... a little more dramatic, while this is a very quiet, very slow film that will appeal to those who work on those frequencies....
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