Áron is a happy child in his family. But at some point things take a different turn, and his mother starts to lose her health rapidly. As this happens, the man in charge decides what''s best for Áron without consulting the young boy''s opinion, and the boy finds himself thrown out of his warm home into an orphanage in the woods. He''s utterly displeased by what''s happening, without knowing he has yet to face much worse. After a hard time getting over the harrassment of his classmates and being accepted as one of them, another obstacle on the way to his peace of mind faces him: His obnoxious teachers. He has no intention of being bad, but it''s beyond his ability to blend into the revolting place he''s in. The nasty treatment of the teaching crew gets the better of him, and he''s not all that calm and passive anymore. But that leads into unpleasant events which Áron himself wouldn''t want.
A handful of preteen boys struggle against abuse and neglect in this grim drama. In 1960, Aron Soproni (Tamás Mészáros) is a nine-year-old boy whose parents'' marriage has fallen apart in the wake of Hungary''s political turmoil following the failed Communist takeover of 1956. While Aron has been placed in the custody of his father, the boy discovers his dad has little concern for his welfare, and soon Aron is placed in a state-run orphanage by the parent who prefers not to be burdened with a son. The orphanage is a nightmarish place run by a staff of violent, sexually predatory fiends, but Aron soon makes friends with several of the other boys, and they band together to protect each other from the adults who are supposed to "care" for them. In time, Aron and the others discover two members of the staff they can trust -- a former professor of astronomy whose political views cost him his previous position and a pretty woman who stirs the boys'' first romantic longings.