Son of Saul, the fascistic Kurucinfo and Timi’s gown

Congratulations for the Golden Globe award won by the Hungarian film – Son of Saul. (The film has since also been nominated for an Oscar.)

The drama is about the Sonderkommandos, the Jewish units of the death camps who were forced to clean the gas chambers and crematoriums. It is based on a collection of testimonies entitled “Voices from Beneath the Ashes.” Some of the members of the units were Hungarian Jews; in 1944 about 430 thousand Hungarians were deported to Auschwitz in eight weeks among them 100 thousand children under eighteen who went directly to the gas chambers.

This is his first feature film of 38-year old László Nemes who has worked as an assistant director to director-legend Béla Tarr in the past. The lead actor, Géza Röhrig, is 48 years old and is a rookie actor. In May at Cannes the film won the Grand Prix and later toured the festival circuit including Telluride and Toronto, winning awards along the way. Now it has won the Golden Globes and is nominated for Best Foreign Language Oscar.

Géza Röhrig,  Timi (Timea Vajna) and László Nemes Jeles at the Golden Globe gala in California.

Géza Röhrig, Timi (Timea Vajna) and László Nemes Jeles at the Golden Globe gala in California.

The movie had a 2 million dollar (450 million Ft) budget. The team was unable to secure funding from French, German or Israeli sources and the Hungarian National Film Foundation rescued them with a 1.2 million dollars (320 million Ft) contribution. It was made on a shoestring.

Success has many fathers, failure is an orphan. Now everybody takes credit for the film, even Hungary’s PM Viktor Orbán, who has called it a “unique Hungarian success.” He said “I convey my heartfelt congratulations to László Nemes Jeles and all the creators and actors of Son of Saul,” and added “I would like to express my appreciation to Andy Vajna (government film commissioner), who has established a support system for the film industry that opens the path to talented professionals.”

I might mention that in 1989 Mr. Orbán equally warmly welcomed the statue of Albert Wass in the village of Pomáz. Wass was a convicted World War II criminal who murdered Jews and portrayed them as rats in his writings.

Hungary’s film-czar is a Budapest-born Californian, Andy Vajna. He is 71 years old and his family suffered during the Holocaust. The billionaire film producer and casino mogul, also one-time wig-salesman told the Hungarian news agency that it is a special honor for the first Hungarian film ever to win this highly prestigious award.

Hungary's film czar and Orbán confidant Andy Vajna.

Hungary’s film czar and Orbán confidant Andy Vajna.

Hungarian politicians celebrate the success of the Holocaust film. The same politicians seem to ignore the viciously anti-Semitic Hungarian website called which is operating in California. The racist content of the site is produced in Budapest, yet the Orbán government claims that they are unable to find its writers and editors. This is surprising since one of them (Imre M. Szabó) even received a government award! Just the usual cynical government doubletalk and communication trickery in response to Hungary’s anti-Semitism.

Mr. Vajna is also PM Orbán’s confidant, he is involved in various lucrative deals yet never raises his voice about the country’s institutionalized racism. Due to his heart problems he couldn’t attend the Golden Globes gala, so he sent his lovely wife almost 40 years of his junior. Timi, the onetime beauty pageant participant loved the LA party scene where she wore her super-expensive, cleverly revealing bra-less gown to look good on the photos.

She looked fabulous!

György Lázár

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