Flowers of Reverie is a landmark of contemporary Hungarian cinema. Prize winner at the Berlin International Film Festival, the film is set at the end of the 1848-9 Hungarian revolution.
Ferenc, a former soldier, is implicated as a member of the resistance and arrested. He suffers from depression and is moved to a mental hospital. After writing an open letter to the Emperor, he commits suicide by turning himself into a human torch. Director Laszlo Lugossy achieves a striking balance between historical forces and the ability of an individual to control freedom and shape the political future in this powerful drama.
Directed by Laszlo Lugossy. Based on a screenplay by Istvan Kardos and Laszlo Lugossy. Director of photography: Elemer Ragalyi. Music by Gyorgy Selmeczi. Hungary, 1984.
Eleanor Mannika, Rovi wrote:
The seeming hopelessness of combatting an all-powerful government that will not tolerate political dissension is the focus of this excellent historical drama set in the mid-19th century in Hungary. In the opening scenes, Hungary has just lost its bid for independence from Austria and a Magyar officer, unable to bear the tragedy of defeat and what it means, says an affectionate good-bye to his beloved horse and then shoots the animal and himself. Two years later, Ferenc (Gyorgy Cserhalmi) is trying to eke out a living for his wife and her family — and at the same time avoid any hint of sympathy for Hungarian independence because the Secret Police are everywhere. Just as life seems to be going well, Ferenc’s former commanding officer (Lajos Oze) arrives and begins discussing revolution again — a futile pursuit at this point in time. The next day, Ferenc is thrown into an insane asylum and everyone else is arrested as well. While in the asylum, Ferenc manages to smuggle out a letter denouncing the Austrian monarchy, and for his efforts his family is further persecuted. Parallels to modern politics would not be coincidental. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, Rovi