Fresh from school, 15-year-old Jutka and several friends leave rural Hungary for what they hope will be a better life in Budapest. But alongside the joys of boys, coffee-bars, concerts and a little money, they also discover a harsh adult world of betrayal, violence and endless compromise. With its catalogue of disasters that turn the girls' dreams into nightmares, The Princess might seem like a resolutely pessimistic foray into vérité-style naturalism; the overwhelming final impression, however, is of its characters' ability to survive against all odds. Central to the movie's faith in humanity is Erika Ozsda's glowing performance as Jutka, as she slowly but steadily is transformed from surly orphan to responsible, worldly-wise young woman. For once the realist style illuminates rather than irritates.