Dawn

L'aube / Hajnal
France, Hungary, Israel, 1985

Dir.: Miklós Jancsó
Prod.: Yannick Bernard, Doron Eran, Evelyne July
Scr.: Miklós Jancsó, Elie Wiesel
Phot.: Armand Marco
Ed.: Jean Paul Vauban
Music: Zoltán Simon
Cast: Michael York, Philippe Léotard, Redjep Mitrovitsa, Christine Boisson, Paul Blain
Distributor: Mokép
Colour
100 mins.

18 year old Elisha lost his parents in Buchenwaldban. After being freed he’s trying to get back on his feet in a refugee camp. There where is approached by Gad, who recruites him to join the ranks of the founders of the state of Israel and to fight the British occupation of Palestine. His comrades try to obtain weapons by wearing stolen uniforms from a base. One of them, David Ben Moshes gets caught and is sentenced to death. Gad decides to meet violence with violence. the quad captures a British captain and declace on the illegal radio Voice of Freedom that if David is executed they will kill John Dawson in retaliation at the pre-arranged time: at dawn nex day. The sad task falls to Elisha. A serious crisis of conscience rages in the boy: is he free to soil his hands with blood? Can it be righteous - for whatever reason - to kill a man? In addition, his victim is as innocent is his relatives were, who perished in the gas chambers ... It is a long night of soul-searching before the young Jewish soldier comes up with a solution to his quandary.

Jancsó’s Dawn, based on the 1960 novel by Nobel Peace laureate Elie Wiesel, made in French-Hungarian-Israeli cooproduction was in competition for the Golden Bear in 1986 at the Berlinale. However, the French producer of the film, Evelyne July failed to pay royalties to Elie Wiesel - Jancsó didn’t receive any payment either - and the writer took the matter to trial. According to the verdict, the negatives of the film had to be destroyed, and thus the film itself  “perished." The only existing copy dubbed by MOKÉP – as a French film – was screened to the Hungarian public on 8. December in 1988.


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