Big win for Hungarian film at Cannes


László Nemes’ “Son of Saul” took the Grand Prix – the equivalent of second place – at Cannes this past weekend. The film, which addresses the horrors of Auschwitz through a micro-narrative, is the first feature from the Hungarian director.

Political scientist Tamás Fricz praised the social message of the film saying “I hope that the popularity and success of this film will reveal that the threat of anti-semitism has no foothold in Hungary”, during a program on HírTV broadcast Sunday evening. This comes at a time when the ruling Fidesz party is vocally opposing an increase in immigrants in the country, and a survey showing the highest rate of xenophobia in Hungary (46%) ever recorded by polling company Tárki since it was was formed in 1991.

Once assistant to renowned Hungarian director Béla Tarr, Nemes studied film in New York and wrote and directed three award-winning shorts including “With a Little Patience” and “The Counterpart”. “Son of Saul” is the first debut film to receive a top prize at Cannes since Steven Soderbergh’s “Sex, Lies, and Videotape” won the Palme d’Or in 1989. Cannes showcased 19 films in competition this year. 


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