Notebook, The (2013): Hungary’s Oscar Entry

“Le Grand Cahier” (The Notebook) has been selected as the official Hungarian entry for the Academy Awards‘ foreign-language film category.

Janos Szasz’s picture, which won the Karlovy Vary Film Festival’s Crystal Globe, is an adaptation of Agota Kristof’s best-selling novel. A coming-of-age tale set in World War II Hungary, it is also a dark fairytale, the Brothers Grimm’s “Hansel and Gretel” brought into the modern era, in which innocent twins must learn to survive unceasing cruelty when they are sent to live with their evil grandmother, called a “witch” by her neighbors, in a village full of twisted, morally corrupt individuals.

The film was lensed by Christian Berger, who was Oscar nominated for “The White Ribbon.” It was produced by Hungary’s Hunnia Film Studio and Germany’s Intuit Pictures, and was co-produced by Austria’s Amour Fou Filmproduktion and France’s Dolce Vita Films. It also received coin from the fledgling Hungarian National Film Fund. Beta Cinema is handling world sales.

The Hungarian Oscar Committee, which made the selection, included screenwriter Reka Divinyi, director Peter Gardos, Hungarian National Film Fund CEO Agnes Havas, university lecturer Andras Balint Kovacs, film editor Istvan Kiraly, director-cinematographer Lajos Koltai, screenwriter Balazs Lovas, producer Peter Miskolczi and the Hungarian government’s film commissioner Andrew G. Vajna.