The Dressmaker's Secret
Robi Szabó, a nineteen-year-old electrician, craves all things western and wants to find a way to leave Romania. Raised by his mother Mária, a dressmaker, Robi was told that his father was a Hungarian officer killed in the war. Mother and son share a one-room apartment divided by curtains. Life is bleak for Robi. Mária fears losing Robi to the West
Mária’s wartime friend Irma, from whom she has been estranged for many years, reappears to tell her that her brother Róbert, Mária’s former fiancé, will be visiting from West Germany. He is now a successful engineer. Róbert’s return hastens Robi’s desperation to leave. Robi believes Róbert could be his father but Maria reveals to Robi that she hid a Jewish teacher, Zoli, from the Nazis and that they became lovers. Robi is torn between the possibility of being the son of a Christian officer who now lives in Germany or being Jewish in a very anti-Semitic environment. A pattern of revelations ensues following Róbert’s return as the characters struggle for the truth in order to heal relationships fractured by lies, innuendos and suppositions. Robi’s provocative questioning and search for identity becomes a doorway through which his parents’ generation begins to come to terms with their painful pasts.