Fateless is a deeply moving tale of a Hungarian Jewish boy and his quest for the meaning of his past.
Fateless is based on 2002 Nobel Prize winner Imre Kertesz’ moving and disturbing novel about a Hungarian Jewish boy’s experiences in German concentration camps and his attempts to reconcile himself to those experiences after the war. Upon his return to his native Budapest, still clad in his striped prison clothes, fourteen year old Gyuri Koves senses the indifference, even hostility, of people on the street. His former neighbours and friends urge him to “put the ordeal out of his mind”, while a sympathetic intellectual keeps referring to the camps as “the lowest circle of hell”. The boy can relate to neither cliché and is left to ponder the meaning of his experience alone. Gyuri’s response to his experience is curiously ambivalent. In the camps, he tries to adjust to his ever-worsening situation by imputing human motives to his inhuman captors. By imposing a logic – his logic, the logic of a bright, sensitive, though in many ways quite ordinary teenager – he maintains a precarious semblance of normalcy. Lacking emotional or spiritual ties to his Jewish heritage and rejected by his country, he ultimately comes to the conclusion that neither his Hungarianness nor his Jewishness was really at the heart of his fate: there are only “given situations, and within these, further givens.”
Lajos Koltai is one of the best known contemporary cinematographers of our times, working both in Europe and the United States. In 2001, Koltai was nominated for an Academy Award for Giuseppe Tornatore’s Malena. For the past 23 years, Koltai has been a constant collaborator of director Istvan Szabo, making 14 films together. Koltai was the cinematographer of the 1981 Oscar-winning film Mephisto, as well as 3 other Oscar nominated films by Szabo: Confidence in 1979, Colonel Redl in 1986, and Hanussen in 1988. In 1987, Koltai shot his first American movie, Gabi – A True Story. This was followed by a series of other American films including Out to Sea, Mother, Home for the Holidays, Just Cause, When a Man Loves a Women, and Mobsters. At the same time, Koltai continued his work in Europe as cinematographer for Istvan Szabo on Meeting Venus, Sunshine, Taking Sides, and Being Julia, and for Giuseppe Tornatore on The Legend of the Pianist on the Ocean, and Malena. He also recently shot Menno Meyjes’ Max starring John Cusack.