|Index||7 reviews in total|
Try to pronounce it - Hódmezövásárhelykutasipuszta. Yes, that's the
name of the place where the young German student Andreas finds his
Piroschka. It's a very small railway station in the southeast of
Hungary in the glossy 20's. Rural and idyllic.
Liselotte Pulver is lovely as Piroschka, the 17 years old daughter of station master Gustav Knuth. It's a movie full of joy. Beautiful and charming. It really makes you happy when watching it. Music, csàrdàs and feast in a true Hungarian way. But perhaps it's a bit too grievous when it comes to the final part, when Andreas has to leave, when his Hungarian summer is over. He shall never return to Piroschka - just living with sweet memories of her and a wonderful summer in - Hódmezövásárhelykutasipuszta...
This is the story of first love between a German college student and a
young Hungarian girl in a tiny Hungarian town with an enormously long
name. Told from the college student's memories, the early 1900s events
are told with the purity of innocent romance known to all who have felt
that warm feeling of the heart when falling in love for the first time.
The two young people are soul mates that somehow were not meant to be happy together. Knowing that they will never find another true love like this, each is left only with the eternal memories of that one wonderful summer.
A young Lieselotte Pulver is perfectly cast as the sweet and innocent Piroschka, with Karl-Heinz Boehm as the young student visiting from Germany. The gentle Gustav Knuth plays Piroschka's father, who has the privilege of shouting out the town's extremely long and difficult to pronounce name whenever a train arrives. Other well-known actors of the day make up an effective supporting cast.
The use of brilliant color and the inclusion of an impressive score makes this a true cinema gem. If you enjoy a sweet love story with the charm of the simple life of times past, you're going to like this picture!
I was expecting your typical colourful, sickly-sweet, inane, trashy,
multicoloured, forget-the-war, 1950ies eyecandy. In fact I only saw
this because I'd read in an article that in German carnival, a
Piroschka costume is as popular a costume for females as pirate, cowboy
or Indian costumes are for men.
In other words, I wasn't exactly bracing myself for a staggering cinematic experience.
What I got was a captivating, timeless, epic and utterly charming love story. Naive, yes. Construed, you bet. Psychedelically coloured, hell yeah. A fairy tale. But one that knocked me dead. Lilo Pulver, a Swiss German who already has a hard a time hiding her Swiss German accent, affects a silly Hungarian patois, but she more than makes up for it by creating the phenotype of a sassy, vervy ingénue who has to fight her mundane "blonde poison" adversary (Wera Frydtberg) for the love of doe-eyed German student dreamboat (apparently) Andreas (Gunnar Möller).
This movie is an enormous accomplishment of director Kurt Hoffman (I know, I'd never heard of this guy either). Everything is just perfectly in place, spot-on. There are 999 ways of getting this movie wrong, just one way of getting it right, and Hoffman nailed it.
Girls, if you ever wondered "what men want", forget Cosmo and Sex In The City -- here's the blueprint.
A young summer student spends some time in a Hungarian country side
nowhere place with the easily remembered name Hodmezövasarheli...
something, whatever it was. There he falls in love with young and
innocent Piroschka, daughter of the local railway station-master.
However, a more experienced woman catches sight of the young student. She invites him to come and see her in town. There he soon discovers the difference between the honest love of Piroschka and love for pure selfish reasons.
When he returns to look for Piroschka she is no longer to be found and when he must return home he can only keep her as a cherishable memory.
Over half a century ago, when I was 19, my friend Per Sinats took me to
see a film he had seen once before: "Ich Denke Oft an Piroschke" ("I
Often Think of Piroschke"). Most of the film has faded in my memory,
but I remember the first glimpse the feckless young hero and I got of
Liselotte Pulver in Hungarian peasant's garb standing in some outdoor
setting - a farmer's field perhaps? - smiling at us both. THAT'S the
archetypal image I keep in my heart - a natural beauty, an open,
welcoming smile, an invitation to a summer of love.
Per and I were both smitten with Liselotte Pulver, aka Piroshka, and went to any movie she was in, though we never quite re-captured the fresh, guileless Hungarian peasant girl.
That was in the autumn. By the next springtime I had a real-life German girlfriend, Rose, who at 19 was as open, trusting, and willing to love as Piroshka. Perhaps not as beautiful, but then, who was? Not even Liselotte Pulver herself, I daresay, except on celluloid. Suffice it to say that Rose pleased me.
But like Hans in the movie I left Germany after a year with no plans to return, and when I next ran into Rose I was forty, and married. And the next time I was sixty, and divorced, but with another woman in tow. And finally, last summer, seventy-one and once again single.
Rose never married - never WANTED to marry, she avers, for fear of losing her independence, her chance at the satisfying career that in fact she has had. But had I been the love of her life, as she once wrote in a letter? Had my abandonment of her ruined her life, or had it, rather, allowed her to have the life she wanted?
In any case our six-day reunion was sweet, and I spent another two weeks with her at Xmas, and plan on going back again.
She is deeply rooted in the town where she was born, in the house she inherited from her parents, on a hillside overlooking the Neckar river a few miles east of Heidelberg. She has friends who married Americans and who after decades here still regret leaving Germany. Despite my fondness for Germany I don't want to live there, and she won't even fly to visit me in far-off Alaska, so I must fly there if I want to see her again, and I do.
The friendship is sweet, and preserves some of that fantasy the movie captured - that somewhere out there is the perfect lover, eternally young, smiling at us from a field of shimmering wheat, giving everything and asking nothing of us except what we willingly have to give. And so I still often think of "Ich Denke Oft an Piroschke."
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This nostalgic love story was a popular film of its time and the first
major success for the famous Swiss actress, Liselotte Pulver.
Based on a popular romance novel about a man reminiscing about an innocent charming young girl he met as a youth in a small Hungarian railside town, it reflects the need for sentiment and nostalgia in post-War cinema. The film's unambitious story and cinematography reflect just how much confidence had been destroyed by the horrors of the dictatorship and war. Indeed, this film is a far cry from the ambition and scale of Weimar cinema and in its yearning for a golden past, it is perhaps reflects the desire of a nation to recapture its innocent youth before the horrific mistakes of the 1914-1945 period.
The gentle nature of the story of innocent romance also perhaps reflects a newly-emerging national identity of a gentle people, open to meeting others. It is telling that the love interest is a Hungarian, one of the Slavs so despised by the Reich and that the ideal community is in a small town in that country, where the German arrives not as an invader but as a tourist, not wishing to force his culture onto his hosts.
The film perhaps a yearning for a unified Europe before the bitter divisions of the Cold War and Berlin Wall, when travel from west to east was still possible.
Whilst most of the cinematographic techniques in this film are simple, perhaps they reflect the simplicity of the story itself. It is about exuberance, youth and a happy time before any losses. The casting of Liselotte Pulver is a master stroke as she convincingly portrays a pretty but naive peasant girl well whose lighthearted nature is reflected in the lightness and gentle pace of the story.
The notion of the journey at the film's outset takes the audience away from the troubles of the world and into a foreign but totally safe country. The idea of the film being about a time some decades ago also means one can escape the concerns of the current day to an idealised "simpler time" to a place where the most advanced technology is the railway siding switches.
In summary, this film's charm and simplicity works in its favour and one can read it as reflective of a desire for a more open Germany, reconciled with its eastern Slavic neighbours. It reflects a yearning for lost innocence and, although nowhere near as good as the films of the Weimar Republic, reflects the new society that was emerging. It is a commercialised film but one whose optimism, whilst rooted in nostalgia, shows hope for the future and reflects a yearning for reunion and reconciliation. It is perhaps one of the first pieces of art to reflect the new West Germany that was to emerge over the next few decades.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Ich denke oft an Piroschka" or "I Often Think of Piroschka" is a West German German-language film from 1955, so this one had its 60th anniversary last year and the two lead actors (Pulver and Möller) are still alive today, approximately at the age of 90. The director is Kurt Hoffmann, who was very successful back then and one of the writers is Hugo Hartung, the man who also wrote the novel that this film is based on. It takes place in the 1920s for the most time and we find out about a blossoming relationship between a young man and woman between the two wars. But this is just random information. There are really no political references in here at all, maybe also because almost the entire film takes place in Hungary. The heart and soul of the film is Lilo Pulver and I can certainly see why she turned into such a big star back then. She has amazing screen presence and is so charismatic and also nails the character perfectly with her innocence mixed with jealousy as well. Unfortunately, not one other aspect is really on par with Pulver here, not the acting, not the writing, not the emotional impact. And I found the ending pretty underwhelming. I know long-distance relationships were something much more complicated back then, but hey, they are trying to convince us for the entire film that it was the one true love, but then he says they never saw each other again? And he still remembers her so fondly many decades later. Such a shame. i cannot believe he did not come back for her. So yeah, at least I cared for the characters. Still, overall I must say the negative outweighed the positive and I cannot really recommend the watch, even if Pulver was mesmerizing.
|External reviews||Plot keywords||Main details|
|Your user reviews||Your vote history|