“Monsters are never really monsters, they are only our mirror images, we ourselves produce them, we choose for them... and then we label them monsters. Monsters never emerge on their own, they are our own creation.”
— Director Kornél Mundruczó
Inspired by Mary Shelley’s novel, the Hungarian film Szelid Teremtes – A Frankenstein Terv (Tender Son - The Frankenstein Project) tells of a young man, abandoned and institutionalized as a child, who returns home seeking his father — the creation seeking its creator. Pure of heart, but unable to tell right from wrong, the boy becomes a hunted murderer and his once absent father now embarks with him on a tragic journey of redemption.
Originally produced as a play, the film is co-written by Yvette Bíró and director Kornél Mundruczó, who also plays The Father. The Son is played by Rudolf Frecska, his first experience as an actor.
Mundruczó recalls reading Frankenstein and finding it “heartbreaking… My first child was born around the same time and this made the book even more special for me given that it examined the relationship between the creator and his creation”. The film's plot structure is faithful to the novel's and parts of the films were shot in the Austrian Alps. “We were only 30 to 40 kilometers from the part of Switzerland where Frankenstein was written and where the novel’s story takes place.”
The film is part of the Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival, which wraps up this weekend. Awards will be announced on Sunday, May 23.
Interestingly, this year’s Cannes-Frankenstein connection extends to the Festival jury, which includes actress Kate Beckinsale who played opposite Shuler Hensley’s hulking Monster in Van Helsing (2004), and Victor Erice who directed the sublime The Spirit of the Beehive (1973), another unusual film inspired by Frankenstein. What’s more, the President of the jury is Tim Burton who made the short Frankenweenie (1984) — now being developed as an animated feature — and another superlative Frankenstein reworking, Edward Scissorhands (1990).
A Trailer (in Hungarian).