Black Tongue (Lingua Nigra)
1953, a small rural town in communist Hungary under the yoke of Soviet oppressors. The people are in terror: three teenage girls have gone missing. ENDRE (45), a journalist of integrity, is tasked to write an article showing that the new communist police can crack the priority case. FARKAS (35) leads the investigation, a detective of the dreaded communist Secret Service. He states that the girls were mistreated at home and fled to the West with the help of enemies of Communism: subversives and minorities.
Endre becomes personally involved when his own daughter, MARIKA (15) disappears. Her body, along with those of the three other girls, is found in the well of PIROSKA (19), a prostitute for Soviet soldiers stationed locally. Piroska confesses that she’s a lesbian, herself shamed by her deeds. She lured the girls away, drugged and raped them, covering up her sins with murder. Weary of Farkas’ propaganda and the contradictions surrounding Piroska’s story, Endre fights to bring his daughter’s real killer to justice. His investigation full of twists reveals that Piroska might merely be a pawn who fits Farkas’ profile of the subversive: it seems that the detective forced her to take the blame. Endre suspects a Soviet officer, BOGACHOV (50) to be the real murderer. Although there is evidence against him, Endre can’t prove anything and Piroska is executed.
Busy covering up for the oppressing Soviets, Farkas brutally and systematically puts Endre back inline. He cracks and writes Farkas’ ideologically tainted version of the case in his article, betraying what he believes in and publicly lying about his daughter’s murder. Her death will never be avenged unless Endre casts away everything he holds morally right. Unable to prove that Bogachov is the killer, Endre is driven to the edge. He tortures and murders the unconfessing Soviet who is begging for his life. Thus the regime turns Endre into the ruthless monster he vowed to fight.
Born in Hungary in 1978. He graduated from Budapest’s University of Theatre and Film Arts in 2010. His first feature LAND OF STORMS premiered in Panorama at the Berlinale 2014 and was nominated for the Best First Feature Award and Teddy Award. It was in competition in Sarajevo 2014, and won the Special Jury Prize at the Taipei Film Festival 2014 as well as the Audience Award at Tel Aviv 2014. Land of Storms also went to Guadalajara IFF, Chicago IFF, Seattle IFF and Ghent IFF, alongside 30 other international festivals. It was distributed worldwide, including US, UK, France, Germany, and Spain. His second script HIGH DIVE was part of the official selection of Berlinale Co-Production Market 2015 and was selected for the Nipkow Programm. His short 7 DAYS received the Special Prize at the Hungarian Film Week in 2003, and WEAK DAYS won Best Short Film there in 2008. His 2009 short film, CELEBRATION, was invited to screen at the Warsaw Film Festival and at Brest European Short Film Festival in 2010. Császi also has past experience directing commercials, TV documentaries and music videos but since 2012 he has been working solely on his feature film projects.
Born in 1982 in Budapest, Hungary. He graduated as a screenwriter from the University of Theatre and Film Arts in Budapest in 2006 and studied at the prestigious film school FAMU of Prague for a semester. In 2008, he attained a masters degree in film directing at the Northern Film School in Leeds, United Kingdom. Iván received a doctorate degree from the University of Theatre and Film Arts in Budapest and has been teaching screenwriting and dramaturgy at the institution since 2013.
Iván Szabó is the co-author of titles Vespa (2010), directed and co-authored by Diana Groó; and of Land of Storms (2014) directed and co-authored by Ádám Császi. The latter film was premiered at the Berlinale’s Panorama in 2014 and was screened at numerous festivals and distributed for cinemas worldwide. Iván was granted a Nipkow Fellowship in 2012 to work on the screenplay of his third movie, The Citizen, directed and co-authored by Roland Vranik, to be premiered the fall of 2016.
His collaboration with co-writer, director Ádám Császi continues, working on two new feature film screenplays (High Dive, Lingua Nigra).
Iván Szabó is currently working on a stage play (Malignus) for which he was granted the István Örkény Stage Play Scholarship in Hungary and is also a Fulbright scholar teaching screenwriting at San Francisco State University’s School of Cinema as of August 2016.
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