In 1916, Romanian Apostol Bologa is an officer in the Habsburg Army. He's determined to do his duty, but he also hesitates between loyalty to the Habsburg Army and joining his Romanian brethren across enemy lines.
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In 1916 Romanian Apostol Bologa is an officer in the Habsburg Army and he reports for duty on the front lines determined to do his duty.Unfortunately for him the enemy is the Romanian Army just a few yards away from the German Austrian lines. Apostol Bologa hesitates between doing his duty within the Habsburg Army and joining his Romanian brethren across the enemy lines. Written by
During World War One the region of Transylvania was part of the Austria Hungary Empire (Habsburg Empire).Romania was part of the Western Alliance fighting against Germany and Austria Hungary.This meant that many Romanians living in Transylvania were forcibly conscripted into the Habsburg Army fighting against Romania thus pitting Romanians from Romania against Romanians from the Austria-Hungary Empire.This anomaly ended in 1919 when Austria-Hungary lost the war and ceded Transylvania to Romania thus reuniting all Romanians into a single country. See more »
Lt. Apostol Bologa could feel none of those qualities. Due to a districting quirk, he ended up on the wrong side in the Great War, a Romanian on the side of Austro-Hungary. Feeling like a traitor, he tries to redeem himself somehow... and thereby hangs a heartbreaking tale.
"Forest Of The Hanged" is an exceptional film on all levels. It played at the Romanian Film Festival at NYC's Lincoln Center last week, so I was probably the only Irishman at the festival but I'm glad I went (happily, the picture was sub-titled). I had no idea the Romanians were such advanced filmmakers - I don't know what I was expecting, actually. What I saw was acting seldom seen on the big screen, and a directing job so competent and nuanced I was emotionally exhausted at the end of the film. In fact, the director played a key role, and was one of the best performers in the picture. The sets and the photography were superb - I think perfect is a better word.
The film is similar in theme to 1957's "Paths Of Glory" but delves even deeper into the psyches of its characters. Although it is a war picture there are very few battle scenes and concentrates mainly on motivations and consequences.
If any IMDb reader gets the chance, go see it. I don't know how, though, as it's not available in any format except the 35mm print I saw it in. It's not a feel-good picture, but I can't miss the chance to recommend one of the all-time great pictures nobody's ever heard of. Incidentally, the running time is 154 minutes (2hrs 34min), not 1hr 54min - be prepared for an extra half-hour over the IMDb site run time.
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