Plot Synopsis from allmovie.com
Hungarian director Istvan Szabó’s 1976 feature Budapest Tales (AKA Budapesti mesék) unfolds in a purely allegorical, dreamlike realm, rich with indigenous symbolism. Following some great catastrophic onslaught – its exact nature unknown – a number of individuals emerge from hiding and discover a dilapidated old trolley car awash on a river bank. They instinctively begin loading all of their worldly goods onto the vehicle and pushing it along its tracks, destination unknown. In time, even the concept of a destination becomes secondary to the trek itself, and a number of key events befall the passenger/participants: a few lose all energy and fall by the wayside; the travelers run headfirst into a river that runs across a section of track, and must break the trolley down and move the pieces across, one at a time; occasional accidents and calamities arise, including the arrival of brigands. The life cycle, however, continues unabated: while one of the passengers dies, sacrificing his own life to ensure the continuation of the journey, a woman on board gives birth to twins. In time, the passengers (who have painted the trolley yellow and designated it with the number ‘1’) enter the vicinity of a massive city, and discover that theirs is only one of a large number of indistinguishable trolleys approaching the metropolis. Many critics read Budapest Tales as a metaphor for the post-WWII history of Hungary; its overall reception
Review from imdb.com
A thoughtful 1960s sort of movie, with a title that doesn’t tell much, though the film does begin with a brief visual history of the Budapest trolleycar system. In a mythic version of the situation after World War II people find an overturned trolleycar far outside of town, right it, and begin mostly pushing it toward the city, joined by other wandering individuals. The people, with great faces and mostly respectable ways, succeed at cooperating, though with some squabbles and disasters. The time is also mythic, and not a historical allegory as far as this foreigner can tell, with new born twins showing up later aged 2 or 3. The characters are what is important, and one does get glimpses of their stories, and would enjoy learning more. Besides the good performers, there are great images, though on a much lower budget that Werner Herzog had to get Fitzcarraldo over the mountains.
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