The Film: Judgment in Hungary


“In 2008 and 2009, a group of Hungarian right-wing extremists committed a series of attacks on random members of the Roma community. Six people were killed, including a five-year-old, and another five were injured. The trial of the four suspects lasted two-and-a-half years, and the verdict was passed in August 2013. Director Eszter Hajdú filmed the trial and condensed it to create an oppressive Kammerspielfilm starring the cold-blooded suspects, an irritable judge and the victims’ families. Without any commentary, Hajdú recorded the drawn-out and sometimes chaotic trial from the cramped courtroom’s public gallery. A small static camera shows the judge's point of view, while close-ups highlight the emotions of the people touched by the crime. Sometimes we see the protagonists outside the courtroom, for example during the reconstruction at the crime scene. At the start of the trial, the victims and next of kin assume there will be justice, and they have faith that the Hungarian authorities will protect them. But will the extremists be found guilty? The widespread anti-Roma sentiment in Hungarian society, and the bungling (intentional or otherwise) on the part of the police give them reason to fear they will not.” (quote from IDFA catalogue).

The moment the date of the trial for the serial killing of Roma victims was announced, the documentary filmmaker Eszter Hajdu decided to document events as a memorial to the victims. It appeared, at the time, that the trial would be completed within a year, but instead it eventually went on for two and a half years.

The Only Film Crew To Have Documented the 167-Day Trial

Development began in November 2010, and filming commenced on the first day of the trial on March 25th 2011, and ended on August 6th 2013 - the day the final verdict was announced. Eszter Hajdu and her team were the only ones to document every single day of proceedings from beginning to end. As well as visiting various key locations, the film crew were present for all 167 days of the court trial, and so were able to make an exclusive documentary film of this unique court case. The trial attracted a great deal of local and international media attention in the first few days and at its close, but no representatives of the press were present for the vast majority of proceedings.

“I spent 167 days in the company of accused murderers; an extensive group of Roma mourning the deaths of children, spouses and siblings; and an extraordinarily charismatic and passionate judge. Three years spent in this claustrophobic situation eventually enabled me to retell the dramatic story of a few individuals, and therefore the Roma community, through the documentary film that became known as Judgement in Hungary.”- Eszter Hajdu, the film’s director.

“We ran the first year of development and filming out of our own pockets with no external funding.” Judgment in Hungary is a totally independent documentary film made with no Hungarian state funding, as a Hungarian-German coproduction with Perfect Shot Films Gmbh. The film is solely represented by Lisbon-based Miradouro Media LDA. The film is directed by Eszter Hajdu and produced by Sándor Mester (MS3).

The premiere of Judgment in Hungary was at the 26th IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. Eszter Hajdu's film got a nomination at the 26th IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam) in the First Appearance Competition. So far the film received 16 international awards.

Jury statement by Pawel Pawlikowski, Oscar award winner- filmdirector (Ida, Last resort, My summer of Love) at London Open City Film Festival, where Judgment in Hungary received the Best film award :

'Judgment in Hungary is a pure observational documentary and yet it has all the qualities of great drama: compelling characters, twists, turns, and moments of horror and even comedy. By presenting the idiosyncrasies of the Hungarian legal system, it manages to capture the racism faced by the Roma community in Hungary. Like all great films, by focusing on something very narrow and specific it holds up a mirror to something universal.'

”Consisting almost entirely of courtroom footage, this cut-and-dry account of an anti-Roma hate-crime trial upsets” Peter Debruge, Chief International Film Critic,

The film was screened at 38 festivals in more than 30 countries and was and will be broadcasted in Netherlands, German, France, Poland, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Canada.

Eszter Hajdu

Sandor Mester

Inka Dewitz
Michael Bogár

Bence Bartos

Editing Consultant
Menno Boerema

Camera: István Szőnyi, Eszter Hajdu, Gábor Medvigy, András Horváth, Péter Steiner, János Varga, Viktor Csaba Németh, Csaba Bedő

Sound: Bhőm Dániel, Gerendai Ferenc, Zoltán Karaszek

Production manager
Sandor Mester

Soundeffects-/ Dialogue editor
Dominik Avenwedde

Rerecording Mixer
Ansgar Frerich

Foley Artists
Daniel Weis

Foley Recordist
Bernhard Köpke

Colour correction
Petra Gesher

Sandor Mester

Jenő Horváth -Violin
Jenő Horváth Jr. -Violin
János Dani -Viola
Tibor Sárközi -Violincello
Jenó Csanya- Double bass

Music Studio
Phoenix Studio

Music Editing
Ádám Boros

János Bohus

VFX Artist
Felix Trolldenier

Sven Zuege, Oliver Peters

English subtitle
Compline Stúdio Bt.-Pető Endre

Ralph Berkin

Production Insurance
Adrienne Schuster

Production manager-Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg
Rainer Baumert

Comissioning Editor -Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg
Dagmar Mielke
Petra Lidschreiber

Commissioning Editor IKON
Margje de Koning

Special thanks to

The judge - Dr. László Miszori

The families of the victims
Adriek van Nieuwenhuyzen Adrienn Lukács András Somos Anette Lantos Annegrietje Franssen Arnold Mátyási Árpád Csonka Attila Balotai Balázsi Bence Balogh Aranka és családja Balogh Györgyné Ági Barbara Wiessing Borbély Péter Brigid O‘Shea Bruni Burres Cara Mertes Catherine Berberat Csorba Erzsébet és családja Dagmar Mielke Dana Duijn Daniel Daniel Dominique Noel dr. Ágnes Veszprémi Elemér Magyar Ellen Krukkert Enikő Garai Eszter Gyárfás Floor de Bie Flore Cosquer Futó Gábor Gábor Somogyi Gaspard Lamuniere George Soros Gizi Balogh Godó László Gyetinás Magdolna Gyetinás Tibor Hajdu Judit Hajdu Tamás Hajdu Marianne Hajnal Molnar-Szakacs Hana Rezková Hegyi István Helmeczy László Horváth Aladár Inglis Ilona István and Judit Barcsi Ivan Garcia-Romero Iványi Gábor Jakab Renáta Jan de Ruiter János Tódor Jerome Herbez Jónás Nándor Judit Szira Kakukk Erika Katalin Koncz Katica Avvakumovits Kemencei Melinda Kóka Éva és családja Koncsár Sándorné Piroska Kristin Feeley László Mátyás Sándor Laura Bartos Lőrincz Marcell Lukács János Magali Theiler Magyar Elemér Malka Jonas Manuella Betsabe Mester Marianne Hajdu Marion Simpson Márton Lőrincz Máté Gáspár Matthijs Wouter Knol Meike Statema Melinda Kemencei Menno Boerema Michelle Michals Mikael Opstrup Milán Fehér Nagy Gáborné Nagy Marika Nagy Tibor Naomi Boxer Nicole van Schaik Nóra Kuncz Nyalka Éva Pádár Zsolt Paolo Benzi Péter Nizák Petra Lidschreiber Pető Endre Phil Cox Piroska Sándor Koncsárné Rahdi Taylor Rákossy Zsolt Ralph Berkin Rita Izsák Rontó Krisztián Szabó Zsolt Sally Ann Wilson Sandi DuBowski Sándor István Zoltán Sándor Mátyás László Szegvári Katalin Szirmai Norbert Szőnyi István Taco Ruighaver Margie Monfils Tamás Almási Tom Bass Tóthné Varga Zsuzsa Tue Steen Müller Varró Tiborné Velissa Robinson Viktória Petrányi Yorinde Segal Zoltán István Sándor Zsolt Bérdi Zsuzsa Varga Tóthné Barbara Wiessing Movies that Matter Film Festival Proton Cinema