Az ajtó

Hungary, Germany


A busy young writer, Magda, struggling to cope with domestic chores, hires a housekeeper, Emerenc. The housekeeper is dependable, although she is something of an oddity. Stubborn, foulmouthed and with a flagrant disregard for her employer’s opinions, she may even be crazy. She allows no one to set foot inside her house; she masks herself in a veil and is equally guarded about her personal life and background. However, Emerenc is revered as much as she is feared. As the story progresses, her energy and desire to help everybody in any way she can become clear also for the writer. THE DOOR tells the story of the strange but enduring relationship between Magda and Emerenc, and the story is basically about the question: do we have the right to interfere in the life of another person?

Director's Statement

Turning a literary masterpiece into a film is always a difficult task as the values created by the written word have to be replaced by motion picture values. In the case of THE DOOR the most difficult task for the director is to find the two actresses whose faces are capable of representing the features of the two protagonists’ characters by charismatic power and reflecting the radiation of the written work. The power of human dignity and strength (Emerenc), the desire of love and acceptance (the authoress), understanding the other, the power of preserving the roots and tradition, the passion of helping others, the pride and the humiliation of pride, the tragedy of becoming defenceless are emotions appearing in the faces and the looks of both persons. The supporting roles are certainly important too, yet the novel’s power is based on the character of Emerenc, she is the one who should be presented to the viewers so that she stands for everything the readers feel while reading the novel. The choice of locations is significant in order to create a background suiting the social chaos and confusion, the social conditions, the exhausted world still showing the traces of WWll, and the grey and pale colours characteristic for the Budapest of the 1960s. The film needs clear and easily perceivable pictures, and a kind of conceivable, easy to follow presentation reflecting truly the writing style of Magda Szabó.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: István Szabó

Written by: Andrea Vészits, István Szabó

Produced by: Jenő Hábermann, Sándor Soeth

Cinematography: Elemér Ragályi

Editing: Réka Lemhényi

Production Design: Lóránd Jávor

Cast: Martina Gedeck (Magda), Karoly Eperjes (Tibor), Enikö Börcsök (Sutu), Gábor Koncz (Lieutenant Colonel), Helen Mirren (Emerenc)

Nominations and Awards

  • Feature Film Selection 2012