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The Hungarian Cube - A Journey with Andre Hajdu

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The Hungarian Cube

The Hungarian Cube
A Journey with Andre Hajdu

A Film by Gilad Inbar
Produced by Micha Shagrir and Amitai Achiman
Shiba Communications, Jerusalem: 2013
Languages: Hebrew, Hungarian and French, with English subtitles

Reviewed by Anna Dogole - May 5, 2014

Andre Hajdu was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1932, and had it not been for the Holocaust, his musical talents might never have been discovered. During the Holocaust, Jews in Budapest often found themselves restricted to their homes for long periods of time. During these periods, Hajdu's mother used the opportunity to teach her son how to play the piano. He was a natural, and spent the years after the Holocaust studying various aspects of music. As part of his musical studies, in addition to topics such as composition and piano, he also studied ethnomusicology and conducted studies on Gypsy music. In 1956, after the Hungarian Revolution, Hajdu managed to flee to France, where he continued his musical education. It was in France that he met his wife, with whom he had six sons. In 1966 they moved to Israel, where Hajdu's work as a composer flourished, and where he became a respected teacher of music. His passion for music is self-evident, as are his immense musical skills. An Orthodox Jew, Hajdu infuses his music with his religion, even to the point of putting various portions of the Mishnah to music. These compositions have been performed around the world!

In the Gilad Inbar's film, The Hungarian Cube - A Journey with Andre Hajdu, viewers are introduced to Hajdu, his work, and his family. The film serves as an encapsulated biography of Hajdu that is told as the film makers follow Hajdu around on the occasion of his eightieth birthday, and as he travels from Israel to Hungary and France to meet with old friends, to give music lessons, and to visit with his sons that are not currently living in Israel. A couple of examples of Hajdu's 'musical Mishnah selections' are also included in the film, along with short excerpts from concerts where some of the music that he composed is being played. In 1997, Hajdu was awarded the Israel Prize in recognition of his lifetime of achievement.

The Hungarian Cube - A Journey with Andre Hajdu is a sweet and tender film, with tidbits of Hajdu's early life delivered through conversations and remembrances with friends and family members. Along the way, while meeting Hajdu's children and visiting with his wife's sister, you discover that although an Orthodox Jew, Hajdu's life has been anything but conventional. In addition, his sons have chosen lives along the full spectrum of Judaism, from one son being almost an atheist, to another who became Haredi (ultra-orthodox). This is not unlike Hajdu's life story. As a youth he was a nonreligious Jew, and it was only as he matured that he embraced modern Orthodoxy. In a way, it is as if each son represents one aspect of Hajdu's life, highlighting the complexity hidden by the casual demeanor that he presents to the world.

The Hungarian Cube - A Journey with Andre Hajdu is a wonderful film that will not only interest Jewish audiences, but also anyone with an interest in music, composition, or simply learning about a man who has, and is, living a very full and remarkable life!

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