György Pálfi – Szabadesés AKA Free Fall (2014)


Seven floors, seven identically built apartments yet completely different worlds. Seven situations, seven different stories that are nevertheless tied together by thousand strings. They are absurd, often times mysterious mocking glasses of reality as we know it. Like images of an exhibition, these stories are authentic per se, created in different styles and genres, thus told in different ways. It is exactly this diversity that organizes these stories into one peculiar tale. Continue reading

Kristina Grozeva & Petar Valchanov – Urok AKA The Lesson (2014)


In a small Bulgarian town, Nade is an honest, hard-working elementary school teacher and devoted mother, struggling to keep her life together. Her unemployed, alcoholic husband has secretly spent their mortgage payments on booze, the agency where she translates legal documents for extra cash is going under, and a thief in her class has stolen the last of her money out of her purse. With few options left, Nade turns to a local loan shark for help, but with the reposession of her home looming, she finds herself with little hope. Resorting to measures her former self would have found depraved, Nade attempts one last desperate act to get the money she needs. Continue reading

Béla Tarr – Családi tüzfészek AKA Family Nest (1979)


Béla Tarr’s first full length film is a bleak indictment of communist housing policy; A young couple and their daughter are forced to live with the husband’s family in a tiny flat in which tempers frequently flare. The close camera work and grainy documentary style capture the claustrophobia and indignity of life at close quarters with those you don’t like; the father-in-law is a malevolent Iago-esquire figure, forever whispering conspiracies to his son. The couple are desperate to leave, but, as their meetings with the government officials show, there is no prospect of escape for years to come; This is despite many usable flats standing empty, unused for bureaucratic reasons.. We learn more of the characters as the second half of the film effectively becomes a series of monologues, which further convey what a bleak place 1970’s Hungary was. Continue reading

Miklós Jancsó – Szegénylegények AKA The Round-Up (1966)


A profound influence on filmmakers from Sergio Leone to Béla Tarr, The Round-Up is widely acknowledged as a masterpiece of world cinema.

Set in a detention camp in Hungary 1869, at a time of guerrilla campaigns against the ruling Austrians, Jancsó deliberately avoids conventional heroics to focus on the persecution and dehumanization manifest in a time of conflict. Filmed in Hungary’s desolate and burning landscape, Jancsó uses his formidable technique to create a remarkable and terrifying picture of war and the abuse of power that still speaks to audiences today.
From Second Run website Continue reading

Pál Sándor – Szabadíts meg a gonosztól aka Deliver Us from the Devil (1979)


A Hungarian masterpiece from Sándor Pál.

The film’s story take place in Budapest, in 1944 in the very end of the 2nd WW. The film’s photographer, Elemér Ragályi won prize in Montreal in 1979. Montreal, 1979.

In this very dark comedy, the loss of a coat from a dance hall cloakroom sets off a frantic search which results in widespread death and mayhem. It is 1944, and the loss of the coat represents the family’s loss of social standing, even during a time when everyone is suffering from the Nazi occupation. The whole family is called in to search for it, and a cross-section of the social chaos of the times is exposed during their search, which involves murders and more. ~ Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide Continue reading

Kornél Mundruczó – Fehér Isten AKA White God (2014)


White God (Hungarian: Fehér isten) is a 2014 Hungarian drama film directed by Kornél Mundruczó. It won the Prize Un Certain Regard at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. The dogs in the film were also awarded with the Palm Dog Award. The film was selected as the Hungarian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards, but it was not nominated.

The film follows the mixed-breed dog Hagen who moves, along with his guardian Lili, in with Lili’s father. Unwilling to pay a harsh “mongrel” fine imposed by the government, Lili’s father abandons him. Determined to find Lili again, Hagen soon attracts a large pack of half-breed followers who start a seemingly organised uprising against their human oppressors. Continue reading

Szabolcs Hajdu – Délibáb AKA Mirage (2014)


Synopsis: “Mirage tells the story of an African football player in a small Hungarian town, who commits a crime and has to flee. He finds refuge on a farm deep in the Hungarian flatland. Soon he realizes that the farm is a modern slave camp where he is forced to fight for his freedom and ultimately his life.”

The Hungarian plains might as well be Sergio Leone’s American West in Szabolcs Hajdu’s Mirage, an atmospheric fable whose setting feels like no place, any time. Isaach De Bankolé, as the loner who shows up here for reasons we never learn and contends with a gang of slave-driving farmers, carries a film that is philosophically related to but more satisfying than Jim Jarmusch’s The Limits of Control. The picture should draw well at fests, but is willfully obscure enough that, sans an auteur whose name is known in the States, it may be a hard sell here. – John Defore, Variety Continue reading