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Golden Remi Award
(2002, feature, 35mm, colour, 145 min.)
Director of photography:
The story of the film takes place between 1820 and 1860 set against the Habsburg Monarchy, and portrays the life of a Hungarian aristocrat, who was born with extra-ordinary mental and spiritual talents and into a wealthy background.
In the years following the fall of Napoleon the young count Széchenyi irresponsibly seduces his brother’s wife, and the consequent scandal ruins his career as an officer.
The sudden death of the humiliated woman brings a drastic change in the character of the formerly shallow young man, who after this event becomes obsessed with responsibility, and seeks to conquer his fate by creating great works.
A great friendship and a special new love which overcomes every obstacle help the count to become one of the famous politicians of his time, the leader of the opposition, and as such the enemy of the Habsburgs, which goes against his intentions and upbringing. Feeling responsible for the unleashed tensions in society he strives to serve the cause of reconciliation. He initiates the building of a bridge over the Danube, which is to become the symbol of the link between the West and the East in the Europe of that time. His reputation and influence assume such proportions that when the monarchy is shaken to its foundations by the revolutions of 1848 he is driven mad by self-acriminations.
While mentally deranged and vegetating in a private sanatorium near Vienna his nightmares become reality: the Monarchy exacts cruel retribution for the rebellion in the Hungarian province. His friends are executed and the rebellious country sinks into an apathy equal to his own.
Having regained miraculously his old abilities and energy, the old count decides to shake his country out of this apathy, and enters into the last great game against the Empire.