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The Door by István Szabó

The Door by István Szabó

“The Door” is a 2012 film that was directed by the Hungarian director István Szabó, and produced by Hungarian producer Jenő Hábermann. The film is based upon a Hungarian novel named “The Door” written by Magda Szabó. The movie’s story revolves around a novelist’s life and her eccentric maid, named Magda and Emerenc, respectively.

The famous Hungarian photographer and cinematographer who filmed “The Door”, Elmér Ragályi, once talked about the difficulties they faced during the movie’s filming and making it according to the expectations of people who had read the novel “The Door”. He also talked about how talented and transformative Mirren (Emerenc) was. Moreover, he says that he was always driven by his instincts throughout the filming, and the surroundings and the environment largely influenced his work.

The film was shot at Lotz Károly Street in Budapest. The director said about the location, “After a long search, we decided on the location on Lotz Károly Street.” He also said that maybe it was the best choice they made because of the perfect surrounding and environment they found there. He also talked about the relationship they had to build with the residents of the area in order to film the movie, as they had to be patient and tolerable to them.

The Door, István Szabó, Helen Miren, Made in Hungary, Budapest

Emerenc is shown as a strong character who is confident and has the ability to talk back to her employers. At the same time, Magda is a writer and seeks inspiration in everything around, even in her maid Emerenc. The film is more of a character study than a mind game or abstract. Throughout the movie, we get to see how Emerenc’s past was dark and scarred, and there were death and memories of war in it. Even though she is shown as someone who doesn’t let anyone near her, every living being, such as kittens and dogs, are attracted to her.

Magda is fascinated by Emerenc, and this fascination then reveals Emerenc’s secrets that she had buried for a long time. We can say that the film is about two women who didn’t have any children but could give love and care to the people around them.

The movie’s plot is placed in communist-era Budapest, but an interesting fact is that it was shot in English instead of Hungarian. This language barrier makes it a little less plausible. Moreover, the character of Tibor (husband of Magda) is not dubbed so nicely because his voice seems like it’s coming from a distant place. But overall, the acting of Emerenc and Magda is perfect.

The Door, István Szabó, Helen Miren, Made in Hungary, Budapest

István Szabó & Helen Miren

Emerenc is seen in simple and ragged clothes throughout the movie as she strips off all the glamour. One thing that was never explained or pointed out in the film was the privilege that Magda and her husband enjoyed. The class difference is jarred in the movie.

The movie is good, but not as great as it was said to be. However, it was loved by many people and won the Michael Curtiz Audience Award in November 2012. The movie was also selected to be featured in the 34th Moscow International Film Festival.

Sources: Roger Bert, Budai Polgár, Wikipedia

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