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With Yet Another Win, Hungarian Film The Citizen Racks Up International Festival Awards!

By Tom Szigeti // 2017.09.04.

Over the weekend, director Roland Vranik’s film The Citizen won the top prize at the 25th Love is Folly International Film Festival, held from August 25th to September 3rd in Varna, Bulgaria.

At the festival, The Citizen won the Golden Aphrodite, awarded each year to the best film. Love is Folly focuses on romantic films.

The Citizen portrays the struggles of a middle-aged refugee name Wilson, and his attempts to find his place in Hungarian society.

In the film Wilson (Dr. Marcelo Cake-Bialy), whose family was killed during an outbreak of civil war in Guinea-Bissau, fled to Budapest as a political refugee, and ended up working as a security guard in a grocery store at the age of fifty. The story follows his quest for Hungarian citizenship, and he is aided in his preparations by Mari (Ágnes Máhr), a history teacher; during the course of his trials he also meets Shirin (Arghavan Shekari), a young Iranian woman whose only hope to avoid deportation is to marry a Hungarian citizen.

You can read our full review of The Citizen, as well as our interviews with Róland Vranik and Marcelo Cake-Bialy, here.

The topics raised in The Citizen are by no means new to the film’s star, Dr. Marcelo Cake-Baly. As we have previously written, Dr. Cake-Baly is himself originally a refugee from Guinea-Bissau, and his life mirrors that of the character he plays in many respects. Fleeing war in Guinea Bissau, Cake-Baly went to Senegal, where he joined a school program that provided excellent students with a scholarship to go to Europe to complete their university studies. It was through this program that he came to Hungary in 1976. He has lived here ever since.

The Golden Aphrodite is far from the first win on the festival circuit for Vranik’s film. In the winter, the Citizen won the best screenplay award at Portugal’s Fantasporto Festival. It also won ‘Best Narrative Feature Film, Drama’ at the Cinequest Film and VR Festival in California, an award from university students in The Hague, as well as a Special Jury Prize at the Skip City International Digital Cinema Festival, held this past July in Japan.

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Image via The Citizen Facebook page

Video via YouTube