THE SON OF THE CIGAN’
Lali was born with a heart problem as the love child of his Beash mother, Julia and Lajos, who is a so-called läkätár-cigan’ – a group of Romani at the bottom of Romani society. Julia left her Beash husband with their three children for Lajos. Lali’sbirth is an unwelcome event: his siblings blame him for the suicide of their father.
After Julia’s death, Lali (6) is taken by his father Lajos, who uses him to get welfare and housing. Lali’s only refuge is school: he promised his mother to study, so something will become of him.
At school, he befriends blonde, blue-eyed Pali (6), a Hungarian boy. For the first time Lali realizes he likes boys. The friendship is cut short as Lajos is on the run from the law: Lali drops out of school, and they drift from one homeless encampment to the next. At the intervention of a Pediatrician, Lali gets surgery on his heart, but after a short hospital stay, he is back on the streets with Lajos.
His siblings take him in: his sister Kati looks after him selflessly. But Kati is only a child, and soon Lali is placed in the custody of his maternal uncle, Gizda. Gizda hates Lali, but agrees to take him because of the welfare money. Lali’s life is a series of humiliations at Gizda’s hands.
Lali (now age 17) graduates from elementary school. Against Gizda’s will, Lali begins secondary school and meets Pali again. A Romani student amongst Hungarians, he has to prove himself to make friends. In addition, he is conflicted about his budding affections for Pali. Lali struggles: a gypsy amongst Hungarians, a gay man amongst straight men, an outcast in his own family – he doesn’t fit in anywhere.
Gergely’s directorial debut ”Johnny Famous”, a drama feature he wrote, directed and produced about a complex mother and son relationship won the First Prize in the Hungarian Film Week in 2000. He has been successfully writing and directing feature films, documentaries and television series ever since, including directing HBO Hungary’s local original series Tarsas Jatek.
Gergely’s notable works include „Made in Hungaria”, a musical comedy feature film which was selected for Karlovy Vary Variety Critics Choice Section, and won Best Picture at the Granada Film Festival in 2009 and „The House of the Stone Monkeys” – a Tv movie nominated for the Rocky Awards at Banff World Media Festival, and for the Golden Panda Award – Best Director category at the Sichuan International TV Festival in 2015.
Gergely spent the last couple of years discovering his own heritage and family history and as an author he is focused on telling stories of how traumatic childhood experiences, addiction, abuse, social discrimination and minority existence shape our lives and identity.
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