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CONTEMPORARY WORLD CINEMA


Bibliothèque Pascal


H U NGARY/GERMANY Director: Szabolcs Hajdu


Producers: Iván Angelusz, Andras Hamori, Gábor Kovács Screenwriter: Szabolcs Hajdu Cinematographer: András Nagy Editor: Péter Politzer


Cast: Orsolya Török-Illyés, Andi Vasluianu, Shamgar Amram, Razvan Vasilescu, Oana Pellea


2010/color/111 min.


SZABOLCS HAJDU Longtime actor Szabolcs Hajdu began his writing and directing career with Macerás ügyek (2001), which won the Hungarian Film Critics’ Best First Film Award. A native of Debrecen, Hungary, Hajdu has written and directed several television episodes in addition to starring in several short and feature films.


Filmography White Palms (2006) Tamara (2004) Macerás ügyek (2001)


Attempting to regain custody of her daughter in an interview with a child welfare agency in Romania, Mona recounts her Fellini-esque misadventures in the sex trade at a bizarre Liverpool brothel where patrons pay to sleep with famous literary and historical figures—including Joan of Arc, Pinocchio, the Little Prince and various characters from Shakespeare and Dickens.


Mona arrived there through a strange chain of events, starting with an episode on the beach in which a man springs up from under the sand, gun in hand. This is the handsome but dangerous Viorel, who fathers Mona’s child, then disappears. To alleviate her economic woes as a single mom, Mona puts her child in the hands of a fortune teller named Radica and leaves for England. First she works in a nightclub, then finds herself in jail—from which she is eventually sprung by the nightclub owner, who claims her for one of his many role-playing jobs at the “library.” A striking but disconcerting sense of whimsy pervades her story even as things—already pretty bad—take a turn for the worse. Fantasies darken, growing more and more disturbing, until Mona winds up in the horrifying Desdemona Room—where her only hope of escape is her dead father.


This surreal drama, a Hungarian/German coproduction, has been named Hungary’s official nominee for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2011 Academy Awards. Filmmaker Szabolcs Hajdu’s Olympic sports drama White Palms was exhibited in the Directors’ Fortnight at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival.


—VAL MOSES


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