fehér tenyér

 

21th September, Monday, 7 pm, Hungarian Cultural Institute

Dongó Miklós, a former champion of high-level gymnastics, went through a lot as a child growing up behind the iron curtain in Hungary and training under the sadistic methods of his former coach. Many years and injuries later he decides to move and begin anew as a gymnastics trainer in Canada, only to realize that the circle of abuse is omnipresent and this time induced by his own pupils. Nonetheless he endures and becomes a trainer of the super talented gymnast but self-assured Kyle. His new life is marked by haunting childhood memories which bring back to life old ambitions to take part at a professional championship in gymnastics one last time.

Miklós's story is marked by contemplations on freedom and enforcement in different periods and social systems. The tyrannical methods of the trainer in communist Hungary are being juxtaposed with the contemporary brutality of raw ambition and greed. One of the key elements of the film is the rythmical editing and well thought out cinematography which is stylized and documentary-like at the same time.

White Palms is the third feature directed by Szabolcs Hajdu who is commonly associated with the new generation of Hungarian filmmakers such as György Pálfi, Kornél Mundruczó, Ferenc Török, Nimród Antal and others (we screened their films at the film club ibefore) who mark a new chapter in the history of national cinema. Another layer of verism is added by the fact that the main character is portrayed by the director's brother Zoltán Miklós Hajdu, a member of Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas and that his protégé Kyle is portrayed by the real life gymnast Kyle Shewfelt, gold medal winner at the Olympic Games in Athens.