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From January 23, the documentary Too Close, whose central theme is child abuse and domestic violence, will be available to RTL+ subscribers.
The Romanian-Hungarian co-production documentary, co-produced by the creators of On the Spot, follows the struggles of a single mother who does everything to heal the wounds of her daughter’s trauma, in a community that turns a blind eye to what happened. The film premiered in Hungary on January 22, the day before the RTL+ premiere, at the 2023 Budapest International Documentary Film Festival (BIDF).
The film focuses on a mother, Andrea, who alone tries to build a safe new life for her two children after her ex-partner, who was convicted of sexually abusing her daughter, is imprisoned. However, his struggles are constantly made more difficult by the bigoted community in which he lives. Since the man is a member of a well-respected priestly family, the villagers believe in his innocence, while Andrea and her little daughter are suspected of making false accusations. When the man is released from prison for good behavior before serving his sentence, Andrea decides to confront the victim-blaming perception of the community and fight against extraordinary obstacles in order to protect her children.
For Püsök Botond, the director and cinematographer of the documentary, the biggest challenge was how to tell a story that is difficult to see as reality. “A significant number of people think abuse is horrible, but it can’t happen in their family. Since I know the characters of the film well, I wanted to convey to the viewers the feeling of closeness that I experienced around them: Andrea and her daughter could be family members of any of us. If we treat them with love and compassion, we can stand by them in the fight. We no longer see them as victims, but as role models who spoke out against abuse and injustice. I am lucky that my goal coincided with the intention of the actors, and the camera became a tool for healing,” said Püsök Botond.
The theme of the film is not only child abuse, but the devastating effect caused by lying to the victim and denying the crime. Recognizing the toxic effect of this mechanism, Andrea decides to get her daughter out of the rejecting environment. The film holds up a mirror to similarly hostile communities and at the same time gives them a chance to face themselves.
Püsök Botond’s main area of interest is creative and observational documentaries, character-centered stories focusing on human rights, and exploring the limits of humanity in challenging life situations. Püsök Botond graduated as a film director in Cluj-Napoca at the Sapientia EMTE Department of Film, Photography and Media. In 2016, his documentary Angela won the best director award at the Astra International Film Festival, and something at the DocuArt Film Festival. Continuing his studies, he graduated in 2020 from the master’s course in documentary film directing at the Budapest University of Theater and Film. Too Close is the director’s first feature documentary. It had its international premiere at the Sarajevo Film Festival in 2022, and won the best international documentary award at the Astra Film Festival. The Hungarian premiere of Too Close took place within the framework of the 2023 BIDF on January 22.
(RTL Press Club)
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