'The Notebook' Review by Variety - Magazine

VARIETY Magazine | by Alissa Simon Hungarian helmer Janos Szasz's drama is a distinctively photographed, chillingly atmospheric tale of wartime horrors. Distinctively photographed and chillingly atmospheric, Hungarian helmer Janos Szasz’s “The Notebook” follows inseparable teen twins dispatched to the countryside by their parents during WWII; they survive by assiduously exterminating all human sentiment within themselves.

While the accumulation of horrors they experience — and their resulting depravity — won’t win the disturbing pic any awards for congeniality, it nabbed the top prize at Karlovy Vary, as well as a nod from the Europa Cinemas label jury, which supports theatrical exhibition in Europe. Additional fest travel is a given and modest arthouse play possible in other territories. Read the whole article from Variety here

'The Notebook' wins Karlovy Vary film festival

SATURDAY JUL 06, 2013 | THE ASSOCIATED PRESS 'Le grand cahier' by Hungary's Janos Szasz wins top award at Czech film festival PRAGUE (AP) — Hungarian director Janos Szasz's "Le grand cahier" has won the top prize at the 48th edition of an international film festival in the Czech spa town of Karlovy Vary.

The movie, a coproduction of Hungary, Germany, Austria and France, is based on a debut novel by Hungarian author Agota Kristof about 13-year-old twin brothers who have to spend the cruel years at the end of World War II with their grandmother. It was chosen from 14 contenders for the Crystal Globe by the festival's grand jury led by Polish director Agnieszka Holland.

The Notebook at Karlovy Vary Film Festival

"The Notebook (Le Grand Cahier) is the kind of film that no festival should miss and art houses will be delighted to show." - Screen International

Read the whole article from Screen International here

The Notebook for Karlovy Vary Crystal Globe

A fascinating and hard-hitting adaptation of the controversial first novel by Hungarian writer Agota Kristof about 13-year-old twins forced to spend the last years of the Second World War with their cruel grandmother somewhere near the Hungarian border. The term bewitching was never so apt as in the case of this new film by renowned filmmaker and theatre director János Szász. In a village on the Hungarian border, two young brothers grow up during war time with their cruel grandmother and must learn every trick of evil to survive in the absurd world of adults. Towards the end of World War II, people in big cities are at the mercy of air raids and death by starvation. A desperate young mother leaves her 13-year-old twin sons at their grandmother's house in the country, despite the fact that this grandmother is a cruel and bestial alcoholic. The villagers call her “the Witch” because she is rumoured to have poisoned her husband long ago.

Previously pampered, the twins must learn how to survive alone in their new, rural surroundings. They realise that the only way to cope with the absurd and inhumane world of adults and war is to become completely unfeeling and merciless. By learning to free themselves from hunger, pain and emotion, they will be able to endure future hardships. So they begin their own series of studies: they fortify their spirits by reading the Bible and learning foreign languages. They practice every day to harden their bodies and minds. They hold their hands over flames, cut their legs, arms and chests with a knife and pour alcohol right on their wounds. They desensitize themselves to insults and learn to ignore the more insidious appeals of sentiment and love. The twins keep a written record of all they have witnessed during the war, the Notebook. When they write, they follow their own strict code: The prose must be free from emotion, the notes precise and objective.

Bille August signs up for Nabokov's Laughter in the Dark

Danish filmmaker Bille August has signed up to direct an adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov’s 1932 novel Laughter in the Dark. The project will see August being reunited with screenwriter Greg Latter who had previously worked with the director on the adaptation of Pascal Mercier’s philosophical novel Night Train To Lisbon, which was in production at locations in Switzerland and Portugal last spring.

Written 32 years before Lolita and set in 1930’s Berlin,Laughter In The Dark centres on a wealthy art dealer, who abandons his wife and child for a temptress who in turn takes him for everything he’s got. It is described by the film’s producer Sandor Söth of Berlin-based Intuit Pictures as “a tragicomic tale of lust, lethal obsession and betrayal, where love is both figuratively and literally blinding." For more information we recommend this article

Helen Mirren to Receive European Achievement in World Cinema

Cologne, Germany - Oscar-winning actress Helen Mirren (The Queen) will receive this year's European Achievement in World Cinema award, the European Film Academy's lifetime achievement honor, for her body of work at the 25th European

Film Awards on Dec. 1 in Malta. Mirren's most recent performance was in Istvan Szabo's The Door.

End of shooting of "The Notebook" by János Szász

The 46 day principal photography wrapped at the end of April on The Notebook, the Hungarian-German war drama by János Szász (European Film Award fpr Woyzeck), starring Ulrich Thomsen, Ulrich Matthes, Orsi Tóth and cinematographed by Christian Berger. The Notebook is a parable about the consequences of war on children´s psyches, based on the bestselling novel by the Swiss-Hungarian author Agota Kristof. In a village on the Hungarian border, two young brothers grow up during war time with their cruel grandmother and must learn every trick of the evil to survive in the absurd world of adults.

The Notebook will be János Szász´ fifth feature after critically acclaimed Woyzeck, The Witman Boys and Opium: Diary of a Madwoman. Backed by Eurimages, The Notebook is produced by Germany´s Intuit Pictures in co-production with Hungary´s Hunnia Filmstúdió and with Austria´s Amour Fou and France´s Dolce Vita Films, worldwide sales are handled by Beta Cinema.