- Towards the end of World War II two young brothers grow up in a village on the Hungarian border. They have been left at their grandmother’s house in the country, despite the fact that this grandmother is a cruel and alcoholic. The twins must learn every trick of evil to survive in the absurd world of adults.
So they begin their own series of studies: they fortify their spirits by reading the Bible and learning foreign languages. They practice every day to harden their bodies and minds, holding hands over flames, cutting their legs, arms and chests with a knife and pour alcohol right on their wounds.
The twins keep a written record of all they have witnessed during the war, Le Grand Cahier. When they write, they follow their own strict code: The prose must be free from emotion, the notes precise and objective. As the war ends, the “Liberation” brings the worst moments of all: their village and their few relationships are plagued by rape and suicide. Their mother returns for a brief, gruesome reunion and their father follows suit in a final tableau involving patricide and opportunism, leading to the twin’s ultimate separation.