Tom Weidlinger - The Restless Hungarian
This week I interview Tom Weidlinger – a writer and filmmaker who has been writing, directing and producing documentaries for 35 years. His most recent film, The Restless Hungarian, is his most personal project, and will be featured at the upcoming Mendocino Film Festival on June 3.
In this searingly honest melding of the personal and historical Weidlinger uncovers the epic story of four generations. Central to the story is Tom’s father, Paul Weidlinger, a brilliant structural engineer who fled Europe just ahead of the Holocaust—but who kept secret, even from his children, the fact that he was a Jew.
The film unfolds in 1920s and ‘30s Budapest, Zurich, London, Paris, La Paz (Bolivia), then 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s Chicago and New York, as Weidlinger traces his famous father’s account of his fantastical life. Attempting to untangle truth from fiction, he uncovers a hidden story and lays bare the scars from his family’s experience of war, displacement, and immigration.
Combining documentary material with recreated scenes from his own childhood, the filmmaker discovers how family tragedies, psychosis and suicide, are manifestations of historical trauma passed on from one generation to the next. Weidlinger’s profoundly thoughtful quest makes meaning from his family’s suffering, resulting in a healing work that breaks the cycle of intergenerational trauma.
The Restless Hungarian’s trajectory intersects with the rise of Modern Architecture, the Holocaust, the Hungarian Jewish Diaspora, and the nuclear arms race.
Twenty-one of Weidingers's previous films have been broadcast on public television. Many have won festival and industry awards and all remain in distribution. For detailed information, including trailers, please visit http://moiraproductions.com/. The documentary is also available in book form under the title The Restless Hungarian: Modernism, Madness, and the American Dream.