Shooting Begins for Film on Hungarian Jewish Family
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Shooting Begins for Film on Hungarian Jewish Family

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Filming has started in Budapest on a movie in which Ralph Fiennes plays the parts of three Jews in a multi-generational saga.

The triple role in “The Taste of Sunshine” represents a major ethnic switch for the British actor, who brought the sadistic Nazi concentration commander Amon Goeth to life in “Schindler’s List.”

Fiennes won an Academy Award nomination for that performance, and a second one for the title role in “The English Patient.”

The new film centers on the Sonnenschein family, which rises from humble beginnings to positions of wealth and power in the crumbling Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Fiennes plays three of the Sonnenscheins, which is German for sunshine.

The patriarch, Ignatz, becomes a prominent judge but is torn when his government sanctions anti-Jewish persecutions. His son, Adam, converts to Christianity to advance his career as a champion fencer and Olympic hero, but is caught up in the Holocaust.

Finally, Ivan, Adam’s son, after surviving war, revolution, loss and betrayal, realizes that his ultimate allegiance must be to himself and his heritage.

The film’s Hungarian director, Istvan Szabo, who co-wrote the original screenplay with American playwright Israel Horovitz, won an Oscar for “Mephisto,” which was voted best foreign film in 1981.

Also starring in the film are Jennifer Ehle, Rachel Weisz, Molly Parker, William Hurt, Rosemary Harris, Miriam Margolyes and James Frain.

Shooting will continue through the summer and fall in Budapest, as well as in Vienna and Berlin. No completion or release date has been set, according to a spokeswoman for Toronto-based Alliance Communications Corp., which is producing the film.

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