This charming coming of age story from Judit Elek, the director of the 1989 JFF Audience favorite, MEMORIES OF A RIVER, concerns an imaginative girl living in Stalinist (1950s) Budapest. Following the untimely death of her mother, the thirteen year-old Kati winds up living by herself in a communal apartment - her father exiled to labor in the remote countryside. Left to her own devices, she befriends an old scholar, meets boys, hosts a wild party, and shares her daily life with her mother's ghost. Ultimately, however, loneliness catches up with Kati, who invites a handsome bookseller to move in with her. A sexual awakening follows and Kati finally comes to terms with her mother's death. Told in a magic realism style and photographed in a luminous spectrum of blues and light browns, AWAKENING is a gentle and touching film featuring a remarkable performance by Fruzsina Eszes as Kati.
Judit Elek, director of the 1989 Jewish Film Festival Audience Favorite, MEMORIES OF A RIVER, was born in Budapest in 1937 and graduated from the Budapest Film School in 1961.
With "Encounter" (1963), "Inhabitants of Castles" (1966) and other films, quickly became one of the leading members of the Hungarian "cinéma direct" moving with ease between documentary to fiction genres. Elek's first feature, "The Lady From Constantinople" (1969) won prizes in Hungary and was shown in festivals around the world.
Her latest film, "Speak the Unspeakable," shown at Cannes, follows Elie Wiesel's from the Holocaust Museum inauguration in Washington D.C. back to his birthplace in Hungary, speaking of Genocide, and of his journey from death to life.
"Never forget," says Judit Elek, "this film is dedicated to our children."
Among her films:
1963 - Encounter (Tal lkoz s)
1966 - Inhabitants of Castles (Kastélyok lakói)
1967 - How Long Does Man Matter? (Meddig Él Az Ember?)
1969 - The Lady From Constantinople (Sziget A Szárazföldön)
1970 - We'll Meet in 1972 (Tal lkozunk 1972-ben)
1973 - A Hungarian Village (Istenmezején)
1974 - A Commonplace Story (Egyszerú Történet)
1979 - Maybe Tomorrow (Majd holnap)
1980 - Martinovics (Vizsg lat Martinovics Ign c sz szv ri ap t és t rsai gyében)
1983 - Maria's Day (Márai-Nap)
1989 - Memories of a River (Tudajosok)
Winner of the ecumenical prize at the Montreal World Film Festival
1994 - AWAKENING (Ébredés)
1995 - Speak the Unspeakable