Bibliothèque Pascal: The dark side of immigration
by Fabien Lemercier
23/08/2007 - Filming begins today on the banks of the Black Sea on Szabolcs Hajdu’s fourth feature, Bibliothèque Pascal, a Hungarian/German/UK co-production.
Director of the acclaimed Sticky Matters (2001, Best First Feature at Hungarian Film Week), Tamara (2004), and White Palms [trailer, film focus] (acclaimed in Directors’ Fortnight at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival, see interview with director in Special Report), this time the 35 year-old has made a film about the difficult European journey of a young Hungarian woman living in Transylvania, Romania.
The film stars Orsolya Török-Illyés (Tamara), Gheorghe Dinica (considered one of the best actors in the history of Romanian cinema and celebrated for his role in White Palms) alongside fellow Romanians Oana Pellea and Andi Vasluianu (Cristian Nemescu’s California Dreamin' [trailer]).
Written by the director, the film follows the misadventures of Mona Gajdó (Török-Illyés), a Romanian of Hungarian origin single-handedly raising her daughter, whose father is the strange Viorel (Vasluianu).
Persuaded by Armenian Vacariu (Dinica) of the necessity to go abroad to ensure her economic survival, Mona puts her child in the care of Rodica (Pellea), a fortune-teller to whom she promises to send money every month.
When she gets to London with forged papers, the young woman is led to one of the capital’s night clubs, the Bibliothèque Pascal, where she works for a time before getting arrested by the police for working illegally.
After four months in prison, the night club owner manages to get her released, but her freedom has a price: prostitution in the secret bedrooms of the Bibliothèque Pascal – which offers its clients the possibility of sleeping with sexual slaves representing great figures of literature (Antigone, Katherina Minola (Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew), Mother Courage, Le Petit Prince (Orion Radies), Oliver Twist, Joan of Arc) – a world that becomes increasingly dangerous for Mona.
Produced by Iván Angelusz (Producer on the Move 2006, see interview) for Katapult Film and Gábor Kovács for FilmPartners on the Hungarian side, Bibliothèque Pascal is being co-produced by András Hámori for UK outfit H2O Motion Pictures and Germany’s EuroArts Entertainment.
After the Black Sea, the crew will head to London with shooting planned to wrap up in November in Transylvania (Brasov most likely).
This year Hajdu also directed the comedy Adel Versus Friday for television (a LagunaFilm and Unio Film co-production), which is expected to open theatrically in the autumn and also stars Török-Illyés.
(Translated from French)