A lyrical story of the healing power of love amid conflict, loss and trauma, through the eyes of a young girl in post-WWII Hungary.
[An] exquisite and poignantly performed tale … achingly tender.
42-year-old Aldo (Karoly Hajduk) survived the Holocaust camps but has returned to life in Budapest alone and with little purpose other than his work as a doctor. Mourning the loss of his wife and two young children, Aldo keeps a tight lid on his grief as he goes through the motions of his solitary life.
His quiet routine is upended when a patient at his clinic, 16-year-old Klara (the radiant Abigél Szőke), forces herself into his life after sensing their shared sense of anguish. Klara is simultaneously mourning and in denial at the loss of her family in the Holocaust and has been acting out both in school and in the home of her ill-equipped great aunt. The two gradually form a tender bond, with Aldo acting as foster father and Klara flourishing under their new arrangement.
The gentle peace built by the two survivors is threatened by the encroaching Stalinist regime in Hungary, as well as the judgement of those who cannot understand their complex relationship.
Director Barnabás Tóth shows remarkable restraint in this finely tuned tale of resilience, and his two leads are perfect foils as the precocious Klara and the bottled-up Aldo. Those Who Remained was the Hungarian entry for Best International Feature at the 2020 Academy Awards, and swept the Hungarian equivalent ceremony, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor for Karoly Hajduk for his portrayal as the supportive but quietly devastated Aldo.