The Notebook (2013)

Director:János Szász Story by Agota Kristof(novel) Screenplay by: András Szekér, János Szász  Cinematography:Christian Berger

Running time:112 min Country:Hungary Language:Hungarian Genre:Drama, War Subtitle:English 

Starring: András Gyémánt as One, László Gyémánt as Other, Gyöngyvér Bognár as Mother, Piroska Molnár as Grandmother,
András Réthelyi as Orderly
, Ulrich Thomsen as Officer, Orsolya Tóth as Harelip, János Derzsi as Sutor,
Péter Andorai as Deacon
, Miklós Székely B. as Old homeless, Krisztián Kovács as Deserter soldier,
Ákos Köszegi as Hungarian officer
, Ulrich Matthes as Father










Chicago International Film Festival 2013

Special Mention
János Szász

Haifa International Film Festival 2013

Special Mention Award
János Szász

Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2013

Crystal Globe
János Szász
Label Europa Cinemas
János Szász



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 grandmothers 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 rumored to have poisoned her husband long ago. Previously pampered, the twins must learn how to survive alone in their new, rural surroundings. They realize 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, Le Grand Cahier. When they write, they follow their own strict code: The prose must be free from emotion, the notes precise and objective. Over time they are initiated into the corruptions and horrors of a war‐torn world. They have to listen to a lecherous priests hypocritical avowals of faith, they watch soldiers herd refugees to their death and witness the selfish cruelties their neighbors inflict on one another.

As the war ends, the Liberation brings the worst moments of all: their village and their few relationships are plagued by rape and suicide. Their mother returns for a brief, gruesome reunion and their father follows suit in a final tableau involving patricide and opportunism, leading to the twins ultimate separation.

The Notebook (Hungarian: A nagy füzet) is a 2013 Hungarian drama film directed by János Szász. It was screened in the Contemporary World Cinema section at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. The film has been selected as the Hungarian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards, making the January shortlist.

User Reviews

An European answer to P. Zimbardo''s Stanford Prison Experiment

29 June 2014 | by matyas-faluvegi (Göteborg)
The Hungarian film directors are often consumed up in photography and do not care of the story. Thanks God, not here. Agota Kristof''s Le Grand Cahier has such a strong storyline that it cannot be destroyed. However attempt to do so can be detected here.

I hope that after a while all directors learn that a book itself is not a script, they can use movie to tell the story, even leaving out some key elements of the book.

Some scenes cry that were shot on the same streets, same interiors.

But this is it, that''s why I gave only 8/10, as the film works. It takes you to a journey where you forget your soda and popcorn and step out to the real word afterward a bit changed. You know that it can happen. As in the summary, the circumstances can bring out the evil from everyone. Even 10 year old boys. We know this since the Lord of the Flies, but it is good to be remembered to it from time to time...