An athlete's battle with past

White Palms’, a Hungarian film was recently screened at Alliance Francaise. White Palms is a film that moves between the past and the present of Miklos Dongo, who is struggling to coach a gifted but arrogant Olympic hopeful while reminiscing his own training in communist Hungary, where child athletes were tortured and often physically abused.

The sequences depict a you­ng Miklos and his classmates being terrorised by their coach, who often used to beat them with his sword (a fencing sabre).

Difficult to watch, these scenes were essential to the construction of this psychologically penetrating film about the boy, whose childhood was devoid of any innocence.
The source of his trauma included expectations of his parents to perform and win me­d­a­ls. He struggles not to re­p­eat the behaviour with his student while still trying to instill in him the spirit of being competitive.

The film, directed by Szabolcs Hajdu, takes an emotional turn when Miklos recalls his troubled youth while coaching a talented but headstrong youngster.

Miklos is a world-class gymnast who competes in Olympics before taking up career as a performer in circus. He has been hired to help coach some contenders for the Canadian Olympic team and finds himself working with Kyle Manjak, a talented young man whose mood swings make him difficult to work with.

As Miklos tries to help Kyle focus on the game and come to terms with him, he finds hi­m­self frequently looking ba­ck his own early career as a gymnast, his brutal coach,  do­m­inating parents and difficult circumstances that led him to run away to join an acrobatic troupe where he suffers serious injuries and eventually risks his career.

The film shows how as a coach Miklos experiences his horrendous past and gains back confidence as an athlete.

Comments (+)