A neo-Nazi group is terrorizing Hungarian Roma families. We follow three interweaving stories of a gypsy orphan, an abused teenager, and a crime photographer, as the events impact on their lives.
Hanna is 35. Middle class, successful solicitor. She has been married to Péter, a photographer for five years. They have everything, apart from one thing: a child. They have been participating in an expensive IVF programme, but it has been unsuccessful so far. Hanna is starting to give up hope and prepare herself for a childless life. Péter would be willing to adopt, but she refuses. She escapes to her job, because she knows she is at home there.
One day, Hanna learns that the roma murderers have been arrested. This case has kept roma people in fear for over a year. Many died or got seriously injured. One of the suspects was connected to the secret service. Hanna is ‘ordered’ to protect the man. She takes on the case. During the process, she meets Ricsi, whose mother was killed in one of the attacks. Ricsi asks her for help to bring his father out from prison. He has been wrongfully accused of murder before. Hanna promises Ricsi to help, but with one condition: he draws her something pretty. Ricsi draws Hanna as the Virgin Mary with the baby Jesus in the arms.
Hanna finds a solution for Ricsi’s father. The police made a mistake with the evidence.
Ricsi’s drawing releases a certain tension in Hanna and accepts the possibility of adoption.
Ricsi is a 10-year-old Roma boy, who lives with his mother, his mother’s brother and his wife. His father is in preison, accused of murder. Ricsi’s world is complete, however. He believes in his father’s innocence, in the world and some kind of childish, naïve truth. He is an eminent pupil and an avid painter. He paints everywhere. On the kitchen wall, into books, sketchbooks. His mother’s love means everything to him. His world is the fairy tale forest nearby, the saint statues in the windows and nature. For him, the roma settlement does not mean to be outside society, but the perfect background for his childhood. He is waiting for his father to come home. In the meantime, he tries hard to provide for his father’s 30 dogs.
This idyll is ruined when the dogs get sick and have to be put down. One day Ricsi comes home, only to find that the Health Institution has killed his beloved dogs. The few healthy ones were taken to a shelter. This is the first time when the only white member of the roma community, the forester, appears in a negative light.
His sheltered life gets more and more blows. There are more and more attacks against roma people. The family pays a visit to his father in prison. Ha makes Ricsi promise that he will looks after and protect his mother. At night, he sits in the armchair in front of the window to guard their house and his mother – to no avail. One night, their house gets attacked and his uncle and mother get killed.
Ricsi’s perfect world is in shatters. He retracts into his dark and silent world. Ricsi is convinced that the forester, the only white man around with a gun is behind the killings. One day, when he is wandering alone in the forest, he sees the forester kill a deer. He follows him, nicks his gun and wants to shoot him, but he cannot pull the trigger. Her realises that he would become like the murderers themselves and that road is covered with hatred and blood.
At this moment, he hears in the news that the perpetrators have been arrested.
Virág is a 15-year-old girl, who lives with her mother and stepfather on a high-rise estate on the edge of an industrial town. Virág is an eminent student, the pride of her school, excels in sports, too.
She goes home early every day. She volunteers at a dog shelter, which is her second home, her exile. She is also the lover of the manager of the shelter, Misi. It’s convenient for her. She can come and go whenever she wants to, she is welcome there and Misi gives her the love she craves. She is pregnant from Misi, but she doesn’t tell him yet.
She apparently has a dark secret, but we don’t know yet what it is.
One day Misi’s friends appear at the shelter. They served together in Kosovo and they have some secret business together, too. Virág doesn’t like these aggressive men with neo-nazi tattoos. There is something suspicious about them.
Virág’s secret is discovered due to a sports accident at school. When Misi discovers a bruise on her shoulder, he thinks her stepdad hurt her again. Misi finds the man, beats him up and threatens to kill him if he hurts Virág again. After the attack, Virág gets frightened by Misi and leaves him. Misi tries to commit suicide, but Virág stops him. It’s obvious that Misi has a dark secret, which caused his breakdown.
Virág realises that they have no future together, and leaves. As she is leaving on the bus, she sees the police who came to arrest Misi. She is afraid to go home, goes to the school instead. Her teacher/mentor suggests her to pack her belongings quickly and escape from home. Her stepdad catches her in their apartment, beats her up and rapes her. When he realises that she is pregnant, he punches her in the stomach and threatens to kill her baby. Out of fear for her child and as revenge for the years of hell, she kills her stepfather.
All three stories have a happy ending. After Hanna decides to adopt a child, she conceives naturally. However, she and her husband follow through with the adoption, too. With Hanna’s help, Ricsi’s father is released from prison and even receives compensation for the wrongful accusation. After the murder, Virág lives in a secure mothers’ home. Her child is with foster parents, who visit her regularly to bring news about her child. We learn, that after she is released from the home, she will be able to start a new life with the foster parents and her baby.
February 19, 2015
Graduated from University of Theatre and Film Arts, Budapest.
Since 2010 she has worked for several Hungarian TV companies and on short films as a screenwriter and story liner. Co-founder of the Kid’s Eye Art Association, a children video making group that mainly operates in childcare institutions. Besides diving into a variety of texts she works as a photographer and video artist. Her recent audio-visual projects include a contemporary circus production and a careers master adventure game for young people.
Scriptwriter and director.
Arpad started working as an actor and stage director in various theatres during his college years. He has organised creative forums for disadvantaged children using various aspects of theatre, film and literature. His directorial debut, HAPPY NEW LIFE (2007) premiered at Berlin International Film Festival in Panorama was internationally acclaimed and received various awards. He is currently developing three feature films: GENESIS, THE NECROMANCER and IKAROS.
2003 BEAT AND NOTION, short, 60 min.
2005 DUSK, short, 60 min.
2007 HAPPY NEW LIFE, feature, 84 min.
2008 DENIED (BBC), documentary, 30 min.
DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN (BBC) –Roma Serial
2009 MURDERS, documentary, 60 min.
HAPPY NEW LIFE:
57th Berlinale, Special Mention, Panorama section
38th Hungarian Film Week: Sándor Simó Award (for First fFilm), Best Original Soundtrack, Best Producers, Student Jury Special Prize, Student Jury Best Soundtrack
13th Cinéma tout écran – Ghent – Reflet d’Or – Best Director
Moveast International Film Festival Pécs – Unique Visual World
Film Critics’ Award – Best New Director
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