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Rapeseeds in Flower

Áron Szentpéteri


Having worked abroad for years, when István (45) and Gyöngyi (44) return to their hometown they learn that Gyöngyi’s cousin Ernő (46) was placed under guardianship and put in a psychiatric home. The couple seek the help of a young lawyer, Orsi (28). When she meets Ernő it’s difficult to tell if he is just an oddball or has a mental condition, but one thing is sure: he wants to leave the institution. They sue for the termination of guardianship, and a court will decide if Ernő is mentally fit to live freely.
As trials begin, Ernő’s appointed state guardian strongly opposes the case; he even revokes Ernő’s right to spend one day a week at the couple’s home. His threat is clear: either they retract the suit or they’ll find out if Ernő can last two years until a final verdict is reached. Ernő’s state quickly deteriorates, and the protracted process takes its toll on the couple’s unity too: István returns to Germany to work, but Gyöngyi doesn’t want to give up. Together with Orsi they discover that the guardian has embezzled Ernő’s property; if the guardianship is revoked, the truth will come out. However, as the case proceeds it becomes evident they are fighting something much bigger than one corrupt bureaucrat: it’s a failing system they are taking on, to eventually bring Ernő home.


My girlfriend works for a legal NGO, documenting cases. One day I drove her to a small town court. One of the plaintiffs, István, was too anxious to watch the trial, so we went for a walk, and he told me their story. I followed the case as appeals ensued; at the end I was even invited to the small celebration for Ernő’s “return”. The events stayed with me, and I approached them with the idea of a film.
Their story has a strong social element and poses an important ethical question: when can society strip a person of his freedom of decision? Yet, what intrigues me the most is, why did these two people without the material or cultural resources to stand a chance, still take up the fight against a Kafkaesque system, risking their future, their relationship, for a distant relative? Rapeseeds in Flower is a cross between a social drama and a courtroom drama. It takes us to the Hungarian plains, a rough and unforgiving country. Through the fight of a few committed individuals against a broken social system and the abuse of power, it tells a story of family, belonging and of human dignity.

In a lawsuit to end guardianship imposed on their cousin, a couple confronts power in rural Hungary.
Áron Szentpéteri

Film Director

production notes

original title

produced byKino Alfa

total production budget
€ 300,000.00