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PRODUCTION Hungary

Pálfi prepares Skeletal Brigade

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Pálfi prepares Skeletal Brigade

Presented at the European Producers Club Co-production Forum at Cannes in May, Skeletal Brigade, the new film by Hungarian director György Pálfi, has attracted strong interest, with a French company – which for the time being prefers to remain anonymous – travelling to Budapest this week to discuss a possible co-production deal on the film.

The 33 year-old Hungarian director has already showed his exceptional talent and potential with his first two features, Hukkle (European Discovery of the Year at the 2002 European Film Awards and winner of multiple awards at festivals) and Taxidermia [+see also:
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(2006 Cannes Un Certain Regard entry, see Special Report).

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Co-scripted by the director and his wife Zsófia Ruttkay, Skeletal Brigade is an adaptation of the eponymous novel by P. Howard (alias Jeno Rejto). Set in the 1930s, the story tells of how the arrival of prisoner 63 disrupts a disciplinary camp of the Foreign Legion, located in a frightening desert and run by officers that are psychologically disturbed by their harsh living conditions.

The central character Henry Fécamp – who by a hair’s breadth escaped the death sentence for charges of double murder, robbery, betrayal and spying – ends up in this hell, where he has to undergo forced labour, as well as relentless questioning when he is accused of stealing confidential documents.

Punished for his resistance, he is then sent to the worst unit, the Skeletal Brigade, which is isolated on a plateau where temperatures reach 60°C and its inhabitants are almost at the mercy of the law of the jungle.

Taking control of the situation, Fécamp persuades these doomed individuals to hang onto their humanity. He also meets a former acquaintance who sheds some light on certain mysteries from his past and encourages him to lead a revolt.

Produced by Gabor Varadi for Eurofilm Studio, Skeletal Brigade is expected to have a €4-€5m budget, which could increase depending on co-producers and European cast members. In any case, the production is one to watch very closely.

Meanwhile, Pálfi and his producers are supervising the post-production of Paradise, a playful film set in a crèche about childhood, a period during which behaviour is not governed by the social rules that condition adults.

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(Translated from French)

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