February 23, 2006
One of the big winners of the recent Hungarian Film Week, Szabolcs Hajdu’s White Palms (Fehér tenyér) comes out today in Hungarian cinemas, distributed by Hungarotop. Having scooped up five awards (Best Director, Best Producer, Best Editor, the Audience Award and the Gene Moskowitz Prize from the foreign press) at an event that showcases the year’s best Hungarian productions, the third feature from the 33 year-old director is arousing curiosity (see location news).
Set in the world of gymnastics, the film follows the path of a Hungarian gymnast whose career is cut short by injury and who goes back home to become coach to a young Canadian whom he will help reach the top. Hajdu also wrote the screenplay for the film, which deals with the relationship between parents and their offspring, the transferral of an Eastern European education to a young Western athlete and the need to find one’s own values in order to escape pressure from both coaches and family.
White Palms stars Gheorghe Dinica, Zoltán Miklós Hajdu (the director’s brother) and Kyle Shewfelt the Canadian Olympic champion and Gold medal winner of the Floor Exercise in Athens. Produced by Katapult Film (see Iván Angelusz interview ) and FilmPartners, the film is being sold internationally by the French company Onoma.
Also arriving on screens today are two quality European productions, which face an American duo (Syriana and Proof). Mokep is releasing Je ne suis pas là pour être aimé (lit. "I Am Not There To Be Loved" by Stéphane Brizé (TS Productions), which performed very well in the French theatres following its selection at San Sebastian, while Budapest Film is placing its best on UK film The Descent by Neil Marshall < (a Celador Films production), screened out of competition at the last Venice festival (see feature).
Also of note are the excellent box-office results for local film Tibor vagyok, de hódítani akarok by Fonyó Gergely, up since the weekend to second place in its third week of release, and Iván Kapitány’s Pumpheads, which debuted directly at number five, with István Szabó’s Relatives one spot behind in its second week and Just Sex and Nothing Else holding on to 10th place in its 11th week. British films have not been left behind, with Kirk Jones’ Nanny McPhee straight in at number three and Joe Wright’s Pride and Prejudice, still in eighth place after three weeks.