The book is a structured, dramatized memoir, along the same line as Rilke’s The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. It’s a fine literary read, entertaining, humorous and touching, and with the underlining themes of search for love and coming of age. The early years of the story are set against a ferocious political background, the regimes of the Nazis and the Communists, under which Mr. Kaczender lived and barely survived.
George Kaczender is an American film director, born in Budapest, who has worked with such stars as George Clooney, Robert Mitchum, Richard Harris, Karen Black, Jeanne Moreau, George Hamilton, Tom Berenger, JoBeth Williams, Lee Majors and Brad Pitt.
Kaczender was born in Hungary. He fled in 1956 as a political refugee after studying film and working as an Assistant Director at the Pannonina Film Studios in Budapest. He emigrated first to Austria, then eventually to Canada where he worked at the National Film Board of Canada in Montreal from 1956 to 1969. In 1968 he co-wrote and directed the award winning feature film, Don’t Let the Angels Fall, that was nominated for the Palme d’Or, the first Canadian feature film invited to the main competition to the Cannes Film Festival. His next feature film U-Turn was nominated for the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. He won numerous international awards for his work on documentaries and short dramatic films.
He directed five theatrical feature films in Canada before leaving for Hollywood. Among them, In Praise of Older Women based on the best-selling novel by S. Vizinczey, and Chanel Solitaire, the life of Coco Chanel, shot on location in France with Rutger Howard and Marie-France Pisier.
Subsequently, he has also directed numerous television movies for the major broadcast and cable networks. Between 2002 and 2004 he was Adjunct Professor at the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television, teaching film directing. He currently lives in Los Angeles, remains active in films and writes screenplay and books.
“The genesis of this book goes way back into the 80’s,” he said recently. “I realized that time had come to reflect on my past, on my childhood experiences, events that shaped my later life in Hungary, Canada and Hollywood. I began writing random notes, everything that I believed was important in growing up as a deprived, moody and rebellious child. The notes have accumulated and while organizing the material, I realized that my relentless search for love and being loved, and my first sexual experiences along with a May-October relationship in Los Angeles, would be a good framework for a book, a memoir-like notebook instead of a conventionally told story. I put all that material into a political context: my survival as a Jewish kid during the Nazi occupation during WWII, the Communists in postwar Hungary and life in a company town, called Hollywood. I do hope immersing yourself in this book will make you think, and smile, and if you are the sensitive type, occasionally cry.”