Hungarian television film Örök tél (Eternal Winter), directed by Attila Szász, won one of the main prizes last night at the 12th Unruly Unbreakable Cursed International Film Festival, held in Gdynia, northern Poland and dedicated to World War II and anti-communist resistance forces.
Szász’s work competed together with 12 foreign and Polish works in the feature film category. This category has been included for the first time in the program of the festival, which has been organized as a documentary review so far, and this year, it featured about a hundred works. The chairman of the jury, famous Polish director Lech Majewski, justified the first prize of director Attila Szász on the grounds that the film “speaks of the brutal world in which the women taken to the Donetsk camp in 1944 find themselves, but the emotions born there help them survive.”
Szász‘s Eternal Winter is based on Norbert Köbli’s script and produced by Szupermodern Studio Ltd. The film commemorates the hundreds of thousands of Hungarians deported to the Gulag and Gupvi forced-labor camps and narrates the story of local ethnic German women. Following the Soviet occupation of Hungary in 1944, these women are taken from their small village, loaded into cattle wagons and forced to work in coal mines under inhuman conditions at a Ukrainian labor camp. Here, Irén meets fellow prisoner Rajmund who decides to teach her how to survive. While she is determined to return home to her daughter and family, history and fate have a different plan: Irén and Rajmund fall in love. Eternal Winter is based on true events and is the first Hungarian feature film about the 700,000 Hungarian victims of the Soviet labor camps whose stories have remained untold for over 70 years.
Last year, leading actress Marina Gera won an International Emmy Award, the ‘Oscar of television films,’ for the Best Performance by an Actress for her role in Eternal Winter at the 47th International Emmy Awards. She dedicated the award to “all the Hungarian victims who suffered in the Soviet Union” in her acceptance speech. Hungary Today had the opportunity to sit down with Gera for an interview and talk about the award and the opportunities it brings to her.
Organized under the auspices of Polish President Andrzej Duda, the four-day Unruly Unbreakable Cursed International Film Festival included several Hungarian-themed films and podium talks in addition to Eternal Winter. Among others, the participants of the panels, including Górny Grzegorz, a well-known Polish public writer, and Hungarian historian and diplomat Imre Molnár discussed 20th-century Polish-Hungarian cooperation, including the Polish-Soviet war of 1920 and Hungarian aid during World War II.
featured photo: Eternal Winter/Örök tél