Hungary

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. Read More »

Péter Gothár – Ido van aka Time (1986)

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from allmovie:
In a surreal collage of vignettes that add up to nothing in particular, director Peter Gothar starts his experimental film with a family heading off for a vacation at Lake Balaton, the famous Hungarian resort area. When they arrive at their destination, the hotel is partially submerged in water and totally devoid of guests. At check-in time, they are asked to comment on the service in the hotel before going to their room — one single room for the whole family. Is Gothar commenting on absurdities in the society or government? Viewers will have to decide for themselves. Read More »

György Pálfi – Taxidermia (2006)

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A strange young man takes his family’s long tradition of bizarre behavior to new heights (or depths) in this wildly perverse and explicit horror comedy from director Gyorgi Palfi. Kalman Balatony (Gergo Trocsanyi) is a grotesquely fat gentleman who was fathered by an angry hospital orderly getting revenge on his boss by having sex with his wife. While the embittered husband killed the orderly when he was caught in the act, Kalman was born as a result of the wife’s indiscretion, and when he grows to adulthood he earns a modest fame as a competitive eating champion. At an eating contest, Kalman meets a female competitor, the freakish Gizi (Adel Stanczel), and the two fall in love. Kalman and Gizi marry, and she gives birth to a son, Lajos (Marc Bischoff), who grows up to be just as skinny as his parents are fat. Lajos studies taxidermy and takes up preserving animals as a career when he isn’t busy taking care of his elderly and increasingly massive father. Lajos also raises a handful of unusually large house cats, and when they begin to turn on their master, Lajos uses his talents to keep them around the house without the danger of their bothering anyone. Taxidermia received its North American premier at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival. Read More »

Zoltán Huszárik – Elégia (1965)

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A lyrical requiem about horses, who have been forced out of the life of human beings by machines. Read More »

Benedek Fliegauf – Rengeteg AKA Forest (2003)

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Hungarian director Benedek Fliegauf makes his feature-length debut with Rengeteg (Forest). Shot on digital video, the episodic film is composed of a series of seven different intimate parts bookended by footage of the same people in a large public space. These characters aren’t given an introduction, context, or even character names. Cinematographer Zoltan Lovasi shoots the ensemble cast of non-actors exclusively in close-ups, so the larger situation is never made completely clear. Each segment involves a small group of people in some kind of intense and possibly disturbing conversation. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, All Movie Guide” Read More »

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? Read More »

Márta Mészáros – Örökbefogadás AKA Adoption (1975)

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The film zeroes in on two women: Kata, older and widowed, and Anna, a downtrodden young women kept in a children’s institution by her unloving parents. Her own sense of self-value strengthened by an unhappy love affair (she realizes that all fault lay with the man), Kata helps free Anna from her family’s influence. Anna gets married, while Kata adopts a child from the institution where Anna had previously dwelled. A winner of several film awards in its country of origin, The Adoption was directed by Marta Meszaros, the wife of renowned Hungarian filmmaker Miklos Jancso. — Hal Erickson Read More »