FATELESS is based on 2002 Nobel Prize winner Imre Kertesz’ moving and disturbing novel about a Hungarian Jewish boy’s experiences in German concentration camps and his attempts to reconcile himself to those experiences after the war. Upon his return to his native Budapest, still clad in his striped prison clothes, fourteen-year-old Gyuri Koves senses the indifference, even hostility, of people on the street. His former neighbours and friends urge him to "put the ordeal out of his mind", while a sympathetic intellectual keeps referring to the camps as "the lowest circle of hell". The boy can relate to neither cliché and is left to ponder the meaning of his experience alone.

Gyuri’s response to his experience is curiously ambivalent. In the camps he tries to adjust to his ever-worsening situation by imputing human motives to his inhuman captors. By imposing a logic – his logic, the logic of a bright, sensitive, though in many ways quite ordinary teenager – he maintains a precarious semblance of normalcy.

Lacking emotional or spiritual ties to his Jewish heritage and rejected by his country, he ultimately comes to the conclusion that neither his Hungarianness nor his Jewishness was really at the heart of his fate: there are only "given situations, and within these, further givens."

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Lajos Koltai

Written by: Imre Kertész

Produced by: Andras Hamori

Cinematography: Gyula Pados

Editing: Hajnal Sello

Production Design: Tibor Lázár

Costume Design: Györgyi Szakács

Original Score: Ennio Morricone

Cast: Marcell Nagy (Gyuri Koves)

Nominations and Awards

  • European Cinematographer – Prix Carlo Di Palma 2005
  • European Composer 2005