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Kasztner story lures filmmakers

Laszlo Kriston in Toronto 2008-09-16

Considered something of a Hungarian Oskar Schindler, although less known, Rudolf (Rezso) Kasztner, the Jewish rescuer in Budapest during the Holocaust, was the subject of yet another documentary at the Toronto Film Festival (www.tiff08.ca).

Following a Hungarian and a British-made Channel 4 documentary, as well as a teleplay made for Israeli television, Gaylen Ross's US doc, Killing Kasztner held its world premiere in Toronto.

Diverting from previous treatments of the subject, Ross's film focuses mostly on the circumstances by which Kasztner was caught up in a political power play in Israel, along with a gossip campaign that billed him as a Nazi collaborator, leading to his trial and eventual assassination in Tel Aviv in 1957.

"I've always participated in the making of books and documentaries about my father," Susi Kasztner told FNE, "in an effort to keep his story alive."

Reportedly, three feature film projects about the Kasztner story are in the making on both sides of the Atlantic. One of them has 70-year-old Oscar-winner Istvan Szabo (Mephisto, Being Julia, Taking Sides), who previously visited the topic of the holocaust with the Canadian/Hungarian/German production Sunshine, attached as director, a source close to the matter explained to FNE.

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