The Courage Of A Just Man
the opportunity to get safely
of Budapest, Hungary, during the
German occupation in 1944, an Italian
cattle dealer chooses instead to risk
his life to save as many Jews as he
possibly can in the traumatic and yet
at times heart-warming film Perlasca:
The Courage Of A Just Man...
WITH THE RED ARMY RELENTLESSLY BOMBARDING Budapest during the German occupation
of Hungary in 1944, Italian import and export cattle dealer Giorgio Perlasca
(Luca Zingaretti: BBC hit series Montalbano) is desperate to get safely
to Trieste, close to the Slovenian border in Italy, where his beloved wife Nerina
waits for him.
Giorgio has been in Budapest on business and although the war is raging he has
managed to avoid having too much to do with it; until he finds himself trapped,
a wanted man and unable to escape from the Hungarian capital.
Hungarian Countess Eleonora (Mathilda May) whose husband fought
in Russia for the Reich steps in to save Giorgio from the attention
of the sadistic German Captain Bleiber (György Cserhalmi) and tells him to go
to the Pajor Sanatorium and ask for Professor Balazs (Jean François Garreaud),
who will help him.
the sanatorium, Giorgio discovers that a number of Jews are hiding in the Infectious
Diseases wing; and as he joins them he begins to make friends with them and
becomes especially close to Magda (Amanda Sandrelli), her daughter Lilli (Titanilla
Varga) and a young orphaned boy.
Perlasca: The Courage
Of A Just Man
is an incredible,
film that honours
the heroic Italian who
risked his life
to save thousands
He hears their tragic and horrific stories and, when the fugitives are discovered
and have to flee the sanatorium, witnesses first hand the appalling treatment
of the Hungarian Jews, who are cruelly and violently sought out and victimised
by the Germans.
Seeking refuge at the Spanish Embassy, Giorgio is at first balked by secretary
Mme Tourne and her son. But when he finally gets to see lawyer Farkas Ügyvéd
(Jérôme Anger) and Spanish Ambassador Ángel Sanz Briz (Géza Tordy), he produces
a letter from General Franco offering him an open door to Spain for the heroism
he displayed while fighting in the Spanish Civil War.
Now calling himself Jorge and, with Sanz Briz's full co-operation, Giorgio passes
himself off as the Spanish Consul. With Spain neutral territory, he is able
to give sanctuary to Jews whom he claims to be "Sephardic" Jews of Spanish origin.
More tragedy is to come as Giorgio desperately seeks to save the Jews from the
labour camps and death camps. As men, women and children are being forced onto
a freight train, he bravely snatches two young children from under the nose
of the notorious German Lieutenant Colonel Adolf Eichmann (Tamàs Puskàs).
Over the period of forty-five days from 1 December 1944 to 16 January 1945,
Giorgio Perlasca risked his life on numerous occasions to save the lives of
over five thousand Jewish men, women and children. Often compared to Oskar Schindler,
Giorgio Perlasca is an Italian hero whose unstinting drive to save lives during
the Holocaust earned him commendations from many countries, including his homeland
Perlasca: The Courage Of A Just Man is an incredible, sometimes harrowing
film that honours the heroic Italian, who risked his life to save thousands
of others, and the staff of the foreign embassies, including the Spanish, Swiss
and Swedish embassies, who were instrumental in harbouring and helping Hungarian
Jews in wartime Budapest.
Once home in Italy, Giorgio did not tell his family and friends what he had
done. A modest man, he had to admit to his courage in 1988 when a group of Hungarian
Jews he had helped tracked him down to Padua. Israel declared Giorgio Perlasca
'A Just Man' and planted a tree in his name in Jerusalem. He died of a heart
attack in Padua in 1992.
Perlasca: The Courage Of A Just Man also features: Elena Arvigo as Anna;
Christiane Filangeri as Eva; Dezsö Garas as The Rabbi; Palle Granditzky as Jacob;
Marco Bonini as Sandor; Lorenzo Lavia as Daniel; Franco Castellano as Adam;
Istvàn Göz as Istvàn Dobris; and Kàvdy Spah as Ferenc.
The wonderful musical score is by Oscar-winning master composer Ennio Moricone;
Cinematography is by Stefano Ricciotti; Writers are: Enrico Deaglio (Novel:
La banalità del bene), Stefano Rulli and Sandro Petraglia; Producer is
Carlo Degli Esposti; and Director is Alberto Negrin.
amazing story of Italian hero Giorgio Perlasca is told in the fascinating film
Perlasca: The Courage Of A Just Man (Perlasca: un eroe italiano),
released on DVD by Odyssey on 8 April 2013. Running Time: 197 Minutes | Catalogue
Number: OD546 | Year: 2002 | Language: English Subtitled | RRP: £15.99.
The Courage Of A Just Man is an incredible, sometimes harrowing film that
honours the heroic Italian who risked his life to save thousands of others"
Maggie Woods, MotorBar
"More courageous than Spielberg in its depiction of Nazi brutality"
"A well-deserved tribute to a principled man who dared to act when principles
no longer counted for anything" TV Guide