Le film hongrois “The citizen”

Friday 5th of October, 18h30 for the film, 20h00 for the debate

Place: Abbaye de Neumünster, salle Krieps

later in the evening : nous allons continuer la soiree avec nos invités au Melusina pour le concert et la soirée d’ouverture avec un orchestre de cuivres de Macedoine

Participants au débat :

Marcelo Cake-Baly, acteur principal du film

Cassie Adélaïde (Passerell asbl)

Karolina Markiewicz (réalisatrice)
Serge Kollwelter (ASTI)

Tarek Alnabhan (sociologue, BPI)

Modration: Radek Lipka

Language: English (questions also possible in French)

This very special evening of the CinEast festival, opening the ciné-debates cycle, will be composed of:

– the screening of the Hungarian film THE CITIZEN by Roland Vranik about an African immigrant who is fighting various obstacles while trying to get the Hungarian citizenship [18.30]

– a public debate (in English) on ‘CHALLENGES OF INTEGRATION’ focusing on questions regarding the integration of refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants more generally. [20.00]

In the presence of the main actor of the film, Marcelo Cake-Baly (see below), and guests Cassie Adélaïde, Karolina Markiewicz, Serge Kollwelter and Tarek Alnabhan.


In the film “The Citizen” Wilson, an African refugee living for many years in Hungary strives to obtain Hungarian nationality – a country in which he is integrated and which he now considers to be his own. In spite of all this the members of the naturalisation commission do not see him as a Hungarian and reject several times his application for Hungarian citizenship.

Beyond the important and urgent issues related to the integration of refugees and asylum seekers, other fundamental questions arise:

What is integration: what makes a person “integrated”?
Does a ‘successful’ integration’ necessarily mean assimilation and erasing of one’s original identity?
And first of all why strive to integrate into society, is not enough to be integrated into a circle of friends, a community?
What are our societies doing to integrate those who ‘come from elsewhere’. Is it really up to the institutions to integrate newcomers or is it up to all of us?

What more could we do, what else could we do for a successful integration, a more harmonious and fraternal society?
Finally, why does the refugee issue divide so much – in many Eastern European countries, but also in Western societies? Every ‘ other’ challenges us – but sometimes it is more convenient to ignore these questions and stay with one’s certainties.


Dans le film « The Citizen » Wilson, un réfugié africain vivant depuis plus de trente ans en Hongrie s’efforce d’obtenir la nationalité hongroise – pays dans lequel il est intégré et qu’il considère désormais être le sien, cependant la commission d’examen n’arrive pas à voir en lui un Hongrois et rejette sa demande de naturalisation à plusieurs reprises.

Au-delà des question importantes et urgentes liées à l’intégration des réfugiés et des demandeurs d’asile, d’autres questions de fond surgissent:

Qu’est-ce que l’intégration: qu’est-ce qui fait qu’une personne est dite « intégrée», une intégration ‘réussie’ passe-t-elle par l’assimilation, c’est-à-dire une forme d’effacement de son identité d’origine?

Et ‘abord pourquoi vouloir s’intégrer dans la société, ne suffit-il pas d’être intégré au sein d’un cercle d’amis, d’une communauté. Que font nos sociétés pour intégrer ceux qui ‘arrivent d’ailleurs’. Est-ce vraiment aux institutions d’intégrer les nouveaux arrivants, est-ce à nous tous? Que pourrions-nous faire de plus, que pourrions-nous faire autrement pour une intégration réussie, une société plus harmonieuse et plus fraternelle?

Enfin, pourquoi la question des réfugiés divise tant – dans de nombreux pays d’Europe de l’Est, mais aussi au sein des sociétés occidentales ? L’autre à chaque fois nous met en question – mais parfois il est plus commode d’ignorer ces questions et rester avec ses certitudes.

MARCELO CAKE-BALY was born in 1958 in Guinea-Bissau. He was only four years old when the War of Independence broke out and, at the age of 14, he, like every boy, entered the volunteer army. Later on, he went to a boarding school in Senegal then returned home to Guinea at the end of the war. He was offered a scholarship and went to Hungary in 1979 where he went to high school and university. He got a degree in economics and after his studies he settled down for a family life. He has worked at many different places, but unfortunately never in the field of economics which he studied. He became the main protagonist of The Citizen by pure chance – the director approached him on the street and told him about the idea. Since Marcelo encounters the very same problems that are pictured in the film every day, he accepted the role.