The Citizen plakát
Source: Hungarian National Film Fund

Prestigious American journals have discovered a recent Hungarian movie, says Roland Vranik’s The Citizen, a compassionate film about immigration and refugees, appreciated by numerous awards is under the microscope this time.

We have written about movies featuring Budapest, our illustrious winning movies – especially Son of Saul, and movies shot in Budapest. Now it’s time to turn to a new Hungarian movie success: American film critics adore Roland Vranik’s The Citizen, a movie about migration and refuge. Hungarian critics have already admired the sophisticated and complex thinking that is present in The Citizen.

It is considered a must-see movie by critics independent of world view or political thinking.

The movie features Wilson, a political refugee resettling in Hungary after his family has been torn apart by war. He meets Mari (56) when trying to pass the constitutional studies exam to become a Hungarian citizen. The interesting love story that unfolds between the main characters Mari and Wilson is what drives the story. However, complications arise when in order to save her life, Wilson promises to marry Shirin, a Persian refugee on paper. In the movie, the two refugees are portrayed as common people with real feelings – just as they are in real life, though some politicians and the society tend to forget this.

Although The Citizen is not about the refugee crisis, or even refugees, but about integration into Hungarian culture, culture in itself, finding one’s place in life and love.

The film has been awarded the Golden Aphrodité Grand Prix in Várna, Special Jury Price in Saitama and Audience Award in Chicago. Several film festivals have also featured The Citizen, such as the Stockholm International Film Festival, Vienna Let s Cee Film Festival, and the Tokyo UNHCR Refugee Film Festival.

An extraordinarily interesting fact about the main actor is that Dr Cake-Baly Marcelo is a Hungarian citizen from Bissau-Guinea, who works at BKV, the public transport company. He has shared several pieces of information about his life with, including how he has been declined several times at job interviews because of his origin.

He hasn’t visited „home” in 20 years.

Now, after a year, various prestigious journals have discovered and reported about the film: according to The New York Times, the film „is a careful, compassionate and beautifully acted character drama with a social conscience”. The Village Voice claims that „The Citizen is a Devastatingly Good Drama About Refugees and Immigration”. We couldn’t agree more.


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