Le Grand Cahier by János Szász

Drama , History,
Hungarian, German
110 minutes
Piroska Molnár
László Gyémánt
András Gyémánt
Ulrich Thomsen (THE CELEBRATION)
Ulrich Matthes (DOWNFALL)
Peter Andorai
Directed by:
János Szász (WOYZECK)
Produced by:
Intuit Pictures in co-production with Hunnia Filmstudio, Amour Fou and Dolce Vita Films
The story of 13-year-old twins during WWII who by studying the evil surrounding them learn to rely on their loyalty to one another, ultimately surviving in the face of challenging circumstances.

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 grandmother's 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 rumoured to have poisoned her husband long ago.

Previously pampered, the twins must learn how to survive alone in their new, rural surroundings. They realise 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, the Notebook. When they write, they follow their own strict code: The prose must be free from emotion, the notes precise and objective.

Based on Agota Kristof's famous novel.


Beta Cinema’s Academy Award-contenders are hot seller at AFM

Beta Cinema's Academy Award contenders are hot sellers at this year's AFM.

Pretty Pictures acquires French rights to Janos Szasz LE GRAND CAHIER

Paris, 18 May 2013. French distributor Pretty Pictures announced today that they have acquired János Szász's LE GRAND CAHIER from Munich sales agent Beta Cinema.

CHILD’S POSE and OH BOY almost sold out

Cannes, 17 May 2013. Distribution rights for Berlinale-winner CHILD'S POSE and German box-office hit OH BOY are almost sold out.

Beta Cinema adds QUALITY and TASTE to Cannes line-up

Munich, 7 May 2013. Two outstanding new titles and several new top-of-the-line promo reels highlight the roster of Beta Cinema's line-up at this year's Cannes Film Market.

Beta Cinema with a row of brand new titles in Cannes
Munich, 15 May 2012. Beta Cinema is bringing a row of upcomings to the Cannes Film Festival, including the Hungarian-German War drama THE NOTEBOOK by János Szász (European Film Award for WOYZECK) and from Spain Imanol Uribe’s political thriller ORANGE HONEY about the partisan’s struggle against the Franco dictatorship, which was honored with the award for Best Director and Best New Screenplay at the Malaga Film Festival in late April.




“A distinctively photographed, chillingly atmospheric tale of wartime horrors…a universally understandable parable about the inhumanity catalyzed by war and the division of postwar europe… evocative lensing by Christian Berger (“The White Ribbon”) and inventive production/sound design suggest violent undercurrents that resonates in the viewers' imagination, and clever animation makes the eponymous notebook a cinematic synecdoche.”