István Szabó – Bizalom aka Confidence (1980)

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In WW2 Hungary, hard-bitten resistance fighter János and naive young mother Kata are thrown together in an attempt to escape the Nazis. Compelled to pose as husband and wife, they are forced into a strange intimacy. Terrified of discovery, the couple are wary of all those around them, and even of each other. As their individual loyalties are challenged, their relationship begins to change – calling into question the emotional certainties of their normal lives, and forcing them to re-assess who they really trust. Continue reading

István Szabó – Hanussen (1988)

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A man’s story parallels Hitler’s rise. Austrian Klaus Schneider, wounded in World War I, recovers in the care of Dr. Emil Bettleheim. Bettleheim discovers that Schneider possesses powers of empathy and of clairvoyance, such that could aid suicidal patients. After the war, with one friend as his manager and another as his lover, Schneider changes his name to Eric Jan Hanussen and goes to Berlin, as a hypnotist and clairvoyant performing in halls and theaters. He always speaks the truth, which brings him to the attention of powerful Nazis. He predicts their rise (good propaganda for them) and their violence (not so good). He’s in pain and at risk. What is Hanussen’s future? Continue reading

István Szabó – Édes Emma, drága Böbe – vázlatok, aktok aka Sweet Emma, Dear Böbe – Sketches, Nudes (1992)

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Emma has moved to Budapest from the countryside with her good friend Böbe, and both of them have taken jobs as schoolteachers. However, their wages are pitifully small, and all they can afford in the way of housing is a shared room in a boarding house near the airport. The two women have settled into their lives, but it isn’t easy: Emma’s sexual affair with the school’s married principal is not emotionally satisfying, and Böbe’s penchant for picking up foreigners and bringing them back to their room for sex creates unpleasant situations, to say the least. At school, it used to be clear what the quickest route to success was, but now that the “communists” are no longer in power, a lot of the senior people are floundering in uncertainty. Eventually, Emma gains the courage to strike out on her own. ~ Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide Continue reading

István Szabó – Álmodozások kora AKA Age of Illusions (1964)

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The Hungarian Age of Illusions was the first feature-film effort by writer/director István Szabó. Andras Balint plays an electrical engineer who hops from bed to bed, never making any lasting commitment with any one woman. All this changes when he falls in love with a local celebrity whom he sees on television (Ilona Beres). Trouble is, he’s never met her; like her other fans, he can assess her only by what he witnesses on the small screen. When he finally does touch base with the girl, he’s in for a few surprises-some pleasant, many others not so. Completed in 1965, Age of Illusions was not given widespread distribution until 1967. Continue reading