Hungarian Marina Gera won best performance by an actress at this year’s International Emmy Awards, the first for a Hungarian actress.
She plays the lead female role in the Hungarian movie Örök tél (Eternal Winter), a fictional account of an ethnic German woman from western Hungary pushed into years of forced labor in the Soviet Union at the end of World War ll.
While the story itself is fictional, the movie tagline says it is “based on 250,000” true stories. With the Soviet Union facing a chronic work shortage at the end of WWII, the harsh reality is that Soviet Union deported millions of people from occupied Central and Eastern European countries for years of forced labor.
While exact numbers are not known, it is estimated that up to 600,000 Hungarians were placed in forced labor conditions, including an estimated 200,000 civilians. An estimated 200,000 citizens perished in work camps.
Gera, 35, a graduate of the Budapest Theater and Film Academy, has already won three other international awards for her role in the movie.
While preparing for the role, she submitted herself to a grueling diet, saying in an interview after she was nominated for the award, “I stopped at 46 kilograms (101 pounds). I was under a harsh diet for the previous two months as women are actually starving in it.”
Title image: Marina Gera in the movie Eternal winter.