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Fateless review

A superlative Holocaust drama from Hungarian whiz Lajos Koltai, based on his fellow countryman Imre Kertész's semi-autobiographical novel. The central character is 14-year-old Gyuri (Marcell Nagy, outstanding), who is rounded up with fellow Budapest Jews during the autumn of 1944 and has to endure stints in three separate concentration camps.

 

Eschewing sentimentality, the impressively shot Fateless doesn't offer a spectacular, Schindler's List-style account of a heroic individual saving others' lives. Instead Koltai follows the stoical Gyuri's attempts to survive. Yet what makes this such a daring and affecting film is it recognises the moments of fleeting happiness experienced by prisoners in the camps - and illuminates the survivor's ambivalent feelings towards his own traumatic experiences.

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