Screened as part of NZIFF 2006
In this justly acclaimed memoir of life in a Nazi death camp we see the 14-year-old protagonist adjust to the relentless procession of horrors with a steady matter-of-factness. We’re drawn into his constant hyper-alertness in a way that breaks down the wall of voyeurism that usually bedevils such projects. Vicariously implicated in his survival strategies, we might also experience a measure of the psychic damage that they entail. This intensely personal point of view is utterly remarkable in an international co-production of such scale and ‘prestige’. It is based on Nobel Prize winner Imre Kertész’s semi-autobiographical novel.
“Wide-eyed Marcell Nagy’s unbelievably committed central performance potently embodies the struggle to maintain an individual identity beyond mere victimhood… Relatively few films touching on the Holocaust are worthy of their subject; this one is.” — Trevor Johnston, Time Out
“The eerie beauty of Lajos Koltai’s child’s-eye view of the Holocaust as it sank its teeth into Hungary in 1944 is profound.” — James Christopher, The Times