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to live in "communism" requires not a spine, but a stomach...
A rare artistic testimony to weekday heroes under the boot of the Soviet Empire who had a spine when stomach was required for survival. Rare, because most of Eastern Europe is now, in 2005, still ruled by the same "elite" of this 20th century world of terror -- their control of the vast majority of the media, education, economy, and politics are aggressively used to whitewash history and play down historic crimes. And artistic, because images of this film will haunt anyone with an understanding of those times, including myself.
The story begins when a (government/party) functionary brutally beats up one in the bathroom after a provincial soccer game (hence the title "Merkozes" which is "soccer game" in Hungarian ). The toilet bowl to which the victim's head had been banged, bloody still, is secretly removed the same night by a local teacher to save the evidence of the assault. The theft is discovered when the blood is ordered to be cleaned up -- and the teacher is an immediate suspect, although no-one knows where he hid the evidence. The quest to find and destroy it begins, but he remains silent in face of arrest, imprisonment, as well as the sexual assault of his wife by the secret police official assigned to the case. Stubborn honesty clashes with the deepest levels of exploitation and corruption against the backdrop of poverty and helplessness. The plot ends with the teacher's son murdering the police agent in defense of his parents when, near the emotional and moral climax, the latter prepares to fire his gun from ambush.
I recommend this film to those who either never lived under communism -- "socialism" according to Soviet/East European terminology -- or lived there but had never seen what that system did to anyone standing up for justice or truth. A nearly everyday story, with nearly everyday heroes -- about everyday life. This film is not about the famous crimes of communism (the rampant war crimes in Eastern Europe after WWII, the gulag, the mass murder by starvation of 10 million Ukrainian civilians in peacetime by Lenin and Stalin, etc.) but it permits the viewer to have a glimpse into the soul of the system. A glimpse similar to Arthur Koestler's "Darkness at Noon" in moral and psychological accuracy as well as artistic power.
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