Hungary

Zoltán Fábri – Életjel AKA Fourteen Lives Saved (1954)

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September 1952 in a mine in Northern-Hungary after an explosion water breaks in from the neighbouring shaft and fourteen miners become trapped. The whole country unites to save them. Read More »

György Révész – Utazás a koponyám körül AKA Trip Around My Cranium (1970)

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A thoroughly original, delightful comedy with serious undertones, this film is based upon the writings of a famous Hungarian journalist, Frigyes Karinthy. Karinthy, who, in his later years, suddenly became afflicted with a brain tumor, wrote a humorous novel about his thoughts during his illness. A Journey Around My Skull is not only a description of the illness and the great medical adventure of the writer, a strange, constantly unbalanced manner of life, but blends in several characteristics of Karinthy’s earlier works. The writer (played by Latinovits, who won the Best Actor Award at the recent San Sebastian Film Festival for his role here) is placed in pre-war Budapest, during the 1930s, and, while seated in his favorite cafe one day, he hears the roaring of trains. Read More »

Béla Tarr & Ágnes Hranitzky – A londoni férfi AKA The Man From London (2007)

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After witnessing a crime during his night shift as railway switchman near the docks, a man finds a briefcase full of money. While he and his family step up their living standards, others start looking for the disappeared case.

Sight and Sound wrote:

Béla Tarr’s latest film may initially appear to be his most conventional work to date, but the Hungarian director hasn’t softened his uncompromising worldview in ‘The Man from London’.By Michael Brooke

The extinction of the aesthetically and intellectually rigorous European art film has been predicted for so long (in the early 1980s, a Sight & Sound columnist called for the creation of a Society for the Protection of the Art Movie) that the mere fact of Hungarian auteur Béla Tarr continuing to direct films without making the smallest concession to popular fashion is a cause for celebration. Read More »

János Kovácsi – Cha-Cha-Cha (1982)

Gruber is a normal 16-year-old growing up in Budapest in 1962, but he has a problem – how does he get to know the opposite sex? At the Sunday afternoon dance classes the young “ladies and gentlemen” hold each other while dancing, and that makes the lessons worth something. Otherwise, the pianist’s attention wanders and the orchestra does not exactly play with a single-minded dedication. In fact, everybody seems to have other things on their minds, except for the enthusiastic dance instructor and his ever-smiling assistant. Letterboxd Read More »

László Lugossy – Szirmok, virágok, koszorúk AKA Flowers of Reverie (1985)

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A beautiful, melancholy film set in the nineteenth century but with obvious contemporary reverberations, Flowers of Reverie recently won the important Silver Bear (Special Jury Prize) at the Berlin Film Festival ’85. The story tells of a family divided by political antagonisms and allegiances in the years following the defeat of the 1848-49 Hungarian Revolution and War of Independence against imperial Austria. Ferenc Majlath, an ex-soldier who participated in the revolution, now allies himself with his exiled commanding officer to the dismay of his uncle, the family patriarch who is a supporter of the Emperor Franz Joseph. In a country littered with secret police eager to ferret out supporters of the failed rebellion, Ferenc is soon jailed; when he refuses to sign a confession and exhibits signs of extreme depression, he is committed to an insane asylum. Read More »

Zoltán Fábri – Utószezon AKA Late Season (1967)

Kerekes believes he is wanted by the police when his friends play a practical joke in this unusual comedy drama. He returns to his hometown where he was accused of turning a Jewish druggist and the druggist’s wife over to the Nazis. With his friends following him, Kerekes tries to find out what became of the couple after they were deported. After being subjected to a mock trial by his friends — and found guilty — Kerekes becomes despondent and attempts to kill himself. Flashbacks and hallucinations are employed to tell this story that occurs during the Eichmann trial. Read More »

Zoltán Fábri – Fábián Bálint találkozása Istennel AKA Balint Fabian Meets God (1980)

Fábri linked two József Balázs novels. The Bálint Fábián story depicts the bitter peasant existence of the father of the protagonist of Hungarians with a profundity and power similar to sociographic literature of the 1930s.

Bálint Fábián is killing people on the Italian front in 1918. At home, his sons strangle the priest who is the lover of their mother. On returning from the front, instead of discovering a robust wife Bálint finds a deranged woman. He is to be the carriage driver for the baron but during the ‘white terror’ he showed solidarity with his fellow labourers, and he returns to his sons as a shepherd. His wife dies, his sons abandon him… Read More »