True Story, episode 34: Judgment in Hungary

13. 3. 2022

Author: Alice La

In episode 34 of the True Story podcast series, co-host Nicole J. Adelman and Eszter Hajdú discuss the current social situation in Hungary, addressing prejudiced attitudes towards the Roma people featured in her film, Judgment in Hungary, and generational approaches to speaking out about social issues.

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Watch Judgment in Hunary at DAFilms.com

Eszter Hajdú is a Hungarian filmmaker who “believes that coming to know and accept others is the key to finding harmony within ourselves and with our world. She regularly focuses on people and groups who are excluded by their societies” and “[depicts] larger social issues “by introducing us to individual lives and their dramas.”

She begins the conversation by highlighting Hungary’s extreme right wing Fidesz government and the rampant nationalism affecting the autonomy of citizens. She mentions that many independent filmmakers are unable to work solely within Hungary as a result of total state control, and are instead forced to find international partners for funding and advice. “That’s the only way you can do some realistic documentary about real problems,” she shares.

Hajdú’s film Judgment in Hungary is about a three year trial prosecuting the men who attacked and killed members of the Roma community. With 167 days of hearing and 3,000 hours of footage Hajdú got to learn about the case on a personal level, and she recalls the heartbreaking scene of the victim’s relatives facing the perpetrators who brutally killed their family members. The members of the court were not on the side of the victims, but “still emotionally on the side of the perpetrators.”

“It was not about a case contra the defendants and the victims, it was like defendants contra Roma. It was not about their victimhood. It was about being Roma.”

Hajdú then goes on to say that films like Judgment in Hungary can begin critical conversations, but for long term changes political developments need to be made against racism. “In Eastern Europe and in Hungary, we got used to this… to be racist with a Roma person, it seems normal. It’s the standard.”

She inspires other people to similarly share important stories and ends by talking about her own fears. “I feel that it’s much more dangerous to hide fear, to hide problems, than to speak out. I have a fear, but my fear generates more open discussion.”

Previous episodes:
True Story - season 4
Episode 31: Ksenia Okhapkina
Episode 32: Vlad Ketkovich
Episode 33: Darya Bassel

True Story - season 3:
Episode 21: Davis Simanis
Episode 22: Museum of the Revolution with Srdjan Keča and Vanja Jambrović
Episode 23: How I Became a Partisan with Vera Lacková
Episode 24: Anna Zamecka
Episode 25: Alina Gorlova
Episode 26: Veton Nurkollari
Episode 27: Holy Father with Andrei Dascalescu
Episode 28: In Praise of Nothing with Boris Mitić
Episode 29: Common Language with Volia Chajkouskaya
Episode 30: When the War Comes with Jan Gebert

True Story - season 2:
Episode 11: Living Water with Pavel Borecký
Episode 12: Every Single Minute with Erika Hníková and Jiří Konečný
Episode 13: Reconstruction of Occupation with Jan Šikl and Alice Tabery
Episode 14: Once Upon a Time in Poland with Filip Remunda
Episode 15: Grief with Andrea Culková
Episode 16: Two Roads with Radovan Síbrt
Episode 17: The Good Death with Tomáš Krupa
Episode 18: A New Shift with Jindřich Andrš
Episode 19: Personal Life of a Hole with Ondřej Vavrečka
Episode 20: Peculiarity of Fisherman's Soul with Ivana Pauerová Miloševičová

True Story - season 1:
Episode 01: A Loss of Something Ever Felt with Liis Nimik and Carlos E. Lesmes
Episode 02: Pure Art with Maksim Shved
Episode 03: Town of Glory with Dmitry Bogolyubov
Episode 04: Caught in the Net with Pavla Klimešová
Episode 05: Wolves at the Borders with Martin Páv
Episode 06: Her Mothers with Asia Dér and Sári Haragonics
Episode 07: Merry Christmas, Yiwu with Mladen Kovačević
Episode 08: An Ordinary Country with Tomasz Wolski
Episode 09: Acasa, My Home with Radu Ciorniciuc
Episode 10: Salt from Bonneville with Simon Mozgovyi

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