Green light for Szász’s The Notebook, based on Kristóf novel
by Fabien Lemercier
17/01/2012 - After the good news that Benedek Fliegauf’s Just The Wind [trailer, film focus] has been selected in competition at the upcoming Berlinale (see news), the Hungarian film industry has shown another sign of resurging activity with the first production funding awarded by the new Hungarian National Film Fund (see interview with Andrew G. Vajna). Three titles, which are also European co-productions, have been selected: The Notebook by János Szász (pictured), Liza, the Fox Fairy by Károly Ujj Mészáros and Zero by Gyula Nemes.
Adapted from Agota Kristóf’s famous novel of the same name, János Szász’s The Notebook will receive 150m forints in funding. Centred on two twin brothers who grow up in a village during the Second World War and commit cruel acts in order to survive, the film boasts an impressive international cast including Piroska Molnár, Ulrich Thomsen, Ulrich Mattes, Péter Andorai and Orsi Tóth.
It will be the director’s fifth feature after Don’t Disturb! (1990), Woytech and The Whitman Boys (Hungarian contenders for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in 1995 and 1998) and Opium- A Madwoman’s Diary (winner of Best Director, Best Cinematographer and the Foreign Critics’ Prize at Hungarian Film Week 2007). Backed by Eurimages, The Notebook is produced by Hungary’s Hunnia Filmstúdió and Germany’s Intuit Pictures in co-production with Austria’s Amour Fou and France’s Dolce Vita Films.
Selected for the Cannes Festival Cinéfondation Workshop in 2010, Károly Ujj Mészáros’s Liza, the Fox Fairy (see news) will also be backed to the tune of 150m forints. This debut feature, whose cast will include Mónika Balsai (star of the TV series Társasjáték broadcast by HBO Hungary) is a co-production between Hungary’s Filmteam, Germany’s Flying Moon and Denmark’s Det Danske Filmstudie. It should be noted that this is the first co-production between Hungary and Denmark.
Finally, 100m forints will go to Zero by Gyula Nemes, who was discovered in Venice Critics’ Week in 2006 with My One and Onlies. Produced by Hungary’s Playtime, the Czech Republic’s Endorfilm and Germany’s 42film, the project traces the misadventures of a beekeeper engaged in a desperate battle against consumerist society. It already has backing from the Czech Film Fund and German fund Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung.
(Translated from French)