Based on the 1861 masterpiece by Hungarian playwright and poet Imre Madách, Az ember tragédiája (The Tragedy of Man) is a powerful drama in 15 acts that guide us through the past and the future of mankind. The narrative begins with the creation of the world, the first and the last acts frame the story that show us Adam and Eve travelling through space and time in search of the meaning of life – with the guidance of Lucifer himself. The first human couple travels from the Paradise through prehistoric times, the ancient Egypt, Hellas, Rome, the medieval Byzantine Empire, Kepler’s Prague, the French Revolution to the London of the 19th century, then Jankovics rushes us through the last 150 years of Europe and we get an insight to the future. The film is a highly dramatised version of the play: while it keeps the philosophical profoundness of Madách’s book it also visually highlights and makes Lucifer’s fight for the soul of the first man more compelling than ever. Continue reading
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
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’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
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
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
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