Hungary, Slovakia


It's summer in Budapest, high school student Abel is struggling to focus on his final exams, whilst coming to the realisation that he is hopelessly in love with his best friend Janka. The studious Janka has her own unrequited love with married history teacher Jakab - who had a previous confrontation with Abel’s conservative father. The tensions of a polarised society come unexpectedly to the surface when Abel’s history graduation exam turns into a national scandal.

Director's Statement

For a long time, I have felt suffocated by the atmosphere of my divided country, which permeates my everyday life. In 2021, the University of Theatre and Film Arts, Budapest lost its autonomy when it was completely reorganized from above as directed by the state, and the professors and students did not agree with this at all. The young people blockaded the university – for lack of any better means – and events soon took a party politics turn, even though the students’ only aim was to be able to take part in autonomous education. As a filmmaker and former student of the university, I joined their struggle, and one day, on the way home from a demonstration, it occurred to me that we need to talk about the situation that surrounds us, and that every art form, including film, should be a medium through which to do this. This is what prompted the main idea of Explanation for Everything.

The split within our nation has been palpably present for years, not just in the parliament, but also in everyday, human relations, out on the street. To me, one of the most expressive examples of this conflict is the wearing of the nationality pin. On the anniversary of the 1848 War of Independence, one of Hungary’s most prominent celebrations, it is customary to wear a nationality pin made up of the colors of the flag, and the perception of this has also become a political issue. The nationality pins displayed by the nationalistic side during party events and demonstrations changed the meaning of this symbol quite a bit in the past 20 years. While it once stood for Hungarian independence and a kinship to our country, today, anyone who wears it is deemed for the nation, and anyone who doesn’t is against it. The situation has become so aggravated that no innocent congregation of friends or family can take place without it soon devolving into discussions of who is on which side, and, as a result, people are less and less interested in each other’s opinions, less willing to hear each other out. I believe that if normal, human communication ceases, no one can grow; after all, this is one of the foundations of a livable society. My former professor and co-scriptwriter, Éva Schulze, and I launched off from here to develop Explanation for Everything in 2021. An important aspect during the writing process was to understand and illustrate the intentions and lostness of both sides. Our earlier applications – along with those of many other successful and talented filmmakers – were rejected by the Hungarian National Film Fund. And so, with the help of my long-standing artistic partner, producer Juli Berkes, as well as a team of seventeen, very young people – often at the beginning of their careers, but all the more enthusiastic – the help and favors of friends and family, and working with a very small budget, we managed to shoot the film in 20 days. The post-production work was supported by MPhilms and the Slovak Audiovisual Fund.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Gábor Reisz

Written by: Gábor Reisz, Éva Schulze

Produced by: Julia Berkes

Cinematography: Kristóf Becsey

Editing: Vanda Gorácz, Gábor Reisz

Production Design: Zsófia Tasnádi

Costume Design: Rebeka Hatházi

Original Score: András Kálmán, Gábor Reisz

Sound: Richard Fulek, Péter Balogh

Visual Effects: Pavol Durak, Peter Kostal, Kata Geffertova, Pavol Timko

Cast: Gáspár Adonyi-Walsh (Ábel), István Znamenák (György), András Rusznák (Jakab), Rebeka Hatházi (Erika), Eliza Sodró (Dorka)

Nominations and Awards

  • Feature Film Selection 2023