A Feleségem története (The Story of My Wife): Ildikó Enyedi from a man’s point of view

Picture of the movie A Feleségem Története (The Story of my Wife) © Hanna Csata


Winner of the Caméra d'or in 1989 for her first feature film My 20th Century, director Ildikó Enyedi has continued to vary formats. Short films and parts of the Terapia series (2012-2014) follow one another, before returning to the feature format in 2017 with On Body and Soul. The Hungarian enters the Competition with A Feleségem története (The Story of My Wife), adapted from the Hungarian novel of her adolescence: a subtle and delicate modern tale starring Léa Seydoux and the Dutch revelation Gijs Naber. Interview.

What is your source of inspiration?

My 20th Century plays with the paralysing effect of the traditional male/female relationship in our society. I had high hopes that this would change after the euphoric years following the fall of the socialist utopia. But until the Me Too movement, the journey towards gender equality turned out to be much more tortuous than I thought.

With this film, I wanted to get inside the so-called traditional male mindset as a woman author. I wanted to infiltrate that toolbox that all young boys are given to succeed in life. Without sending direct messages, this film is meant as an invitation to every honest and caring man to refresh and reinvent his toolbox.

Why was the novel "The Story of My Wife" so inspiring to you as a teenager?

The film is based on the book "The Story of My Wife" by Hungarian Milan Füst, read when I was 15 – a "passionate love story on the surface" that carries an underlying motivation. The book highlights the futile nature of worshipping control and the desperate efforts we make throughout our lives to dominate everything around us. My wife's story is the husband's story: in seven lessons, after quite a journey, this honest sailor, this proud ship's captain, so used to being in control, learns to relax his contracted muscles. He comes to terms with the idea that life, in all its complexity, is much larger and more powerful than he had perceived it to be, and that he has everything to gain from understanding this in order to lead a life full of richness.