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Lee David Zlotoff
Marcia Gay Harden
A complex view on the Easter European society right before the fall of the Soviet Union
Peter Gothar films give a sharp, uncensored view of the society. This film is no different. The plot is rather simple: a family goes to vacation with the usual stress. Then on the vacation the wife gets a strange kind of sickness and they go back to Budapest for a cure. While the wife is in the hospital, the husband visits his family. This is quite banal. However the scenario was written by Peter Esterhazy, one of the most influential contemporary writers in Hungary. His style uses a lot of surrealism but in a way that profoundly illuminates the reality. In this film, the reality is an atomized society where the so-called communist ideals are nowhere so everyday people are fully disoriented. This situation is depicted by the main character, the husband. As a typical example, he is not really capable of coping with the responsibility of a family, we see every now and then his suppressed sexual desires, etc. There is no message in this film, it just depicts a generation without ideals, without aims. The husband is just adrift with any impulse he gets from his surroundings, just as the whole society in Hungary - even today. This is not an easy film to watch though it is very entertaining if you are familiar with Peter Esterhazy's style. Non Hungarians can also enjoy the film provided they have some basic knowledge of Easter European societies.
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