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The Lover of the Soil
(A Föld Szeretője)
(2010, feature, video, colour, 100 min.)
Director of photography:
Zsolt Eöri Szabó
Vilmos Zsolnay (1828-1900), a world famous ceramicist, the founder of modern Hungarian ceramics, and the inventor of the world renowned eosin glazed pottery and ceramics made based on a secret recipe. He lived during the era of technical and intellectual revival in Hungary and the film is also set in the second half of the 19th century. An exciting novel about his work, which was published in several editions, was written by the 20th century Hungarian woman writer, Gizella Dénes. This successful book provides the basis for the screenplay.
Zsolnay’s father wants the young Vilmos to be a merchant, but the young man has other secret intentions. He tries his hand at painting, preparing for an artist’s life. He has strange habits; he likes spending time in the room of his long dead sister “talking” to her. Then an enigmatic old man from Italy appears, who has haunted him since his teenage years. Vilmos’s brother, a young man of the world, founds a pottery factory in the town but he cannot find contentment in this work and constantly seeks new challenges. So one day he leaves the pottery factory to Vilmos. And the mysterious old Italian gives him a secret, the recipe of a vase from Gubbio, which radically changes the course of Vilmos Zsolnay’s life. From then on, the film recounts the journey of the self-discovery of a man who later became world famous. Love, tragedy and pleasure accompany him on this path. We can witness the passionate relationship between fathers and sons, famous alchemists and miraculous healers appear - and the young shop assistant sets off on the road to eternal life... all in the second half of the 19th century in Hungary, in a visual world envisaged by costume designer Marianne Wieber, who has a Europe-wide reputation.
Vilmos Zsolnay achieves the goal of his life and keeps the secret entrusted to him – but will there be someone to pass it onto? And at what price?
The film was made as a priority programme for the
Pécs 2010 Capital of Culture
series of events.
Anchorage International Film Festival
Goa International Film Festival of India