Tags: gulag


It is 1962 in New York City and would-be screenwriters, twenty-something Arnie and Robb, attend the funeral of a once famous Austrian Jewish actor hoping to meet celebrities who might help jumpstart their careers. They meet Minna, the dead man’s beautiful 40-year-old sister, a survivor of both the Nazis and the Soviet gulag who invites them into her life. She has a story of remarkable survival—as a Jew in a German camp, liberated by the Soviets who then imprison her in a gulag because she's an Austrian baroness through an early marriage. An ageing actress in the manner of Dietrich wishes to play Minna in a film, a story that could help revive the actress’ career and launch the young men’s careers as screenwriters. Minna is reluctant to capitalize on her Holocaust story—it is the one thing she values and does not wish to be degraded in a film. Her love affair with one of the young men leads to a change of mind—but it has remarkable consequences for all involved. Budapest is a dark comedy, a modern Camille, and a story of love and betrayal, recreating the fragile world of theatre émigrés in New York in the decades following World War II.