Those Who Remained
Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
With this film, director Barnabás Tóth gives us an intimate drama, a tribute to survivors of the Holocaust, and a most unusual love story.
Budapest, 1948: Aladár (Károly Hajduk) is a grim but kindly doctor, living a widower’s life and doing his best not to think about the past. One fateful day, a woman brings in her teenaged niece for examination: Klára (Abigél Szőke) is an angry misanthrope who scorns authority, but she’s nonetheless smitten with this much older man. Aladár becomes her tutor, friend, and father figure, but their relationship is a dangerous one - not just because of romantic tension, but also because the Soviets now rule Hungary and close surveillance is becoming the norm…
As the movie progresses, we get glimpses of the traumas that molded the two characters: WWII has taken family members from both of them, and those horrible losses become part of their bond. Hajduk is superb as the downtrodden doctor, and Szőke imbues her teen rebel with a true radiance. Serious and often sad, yet also attuned to the joys of life, this is a lovely film.