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African-born Hungarian actor makes debut in movie

African-born Hungarian actor makes debut in movie


For many migrants around the world, life is never the same as compared to what they left behind in their countries of origin.

The Citizen is a Hungarian movie that mainly talks about the life of an African migrant showing the difficulties he faces as he tries to integrate in the Hungarian society.

Having left war-torn Guinea Bissau in 1976, Marcelo Cake-Baly is making his debut in the film industry, by playing the leading role of an African refugee.

Though he got his Hungarian citizenship in the mid-1990s and has lived in Hungary for about 40 years, Cake-Baly admits that the migration crisis has had an impact on his life.

“I feel I am Hungarian, but in the street I look African. It is not written on me how long I have lived here, that I have a Hungarian family, I work here, I am a tax-paying citizen, it is not written on me, people just see me as a migrant when I go out in the street,” said Marcelo Cake-Baly, the African-born Hungarian actor.

The 58 year-old actor left Guinea-Bissau to come to study in Hungary, working as a tram driver in Budapest for over a decade, after struggling to find a job as a security guard in a shopping center.

In the movie, the main character applies for citizenship and falls in love with a Hungarian history and language teacher who tries to prepare him for the tough citizenship exam.

Shooting of the film began in 2015 when Hungary became a transit route for hundreds of thousands of migrants who were fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa.

“My story is still the same, you know: it works the same way. You know, it does not matter like, we have a migrant crisis or not: these people’s problem will be the same thing, you know. It’s not like, you know… They don’t, they don’t care about migrant problem, they don’t care, they don’t even know we have that. All what they know is they just want you know, they are just running away from such horrible circumstances where they can lose their kids, their lives, everything, you know. All that they know is that… You know, it is like your consciousness becomes narrow and you know, then you just grab your kids and run where somewhere is safe. What we think, it does not matter for them: they just need a safe place and clean water, you know. They just need days when nobody tries to kill them, so that is the point,” said Roland Vranik, director of “The Citizen” movie.

While speaking to refugees and civil organisations helping them on the ground Vranik says the crisis did not substantially change his story about the universal vulnerability of the refugee as a human being.

Being his third feature film, “The Citizen” will be shown in Hungarian cinemas on January 26, at a time when Hungary has barely any refugees left after its right-wing government raised a fence on the southern border and imposed tough laws to keep out migrants at all costs.

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