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Shadow on the Snow (1992)

Árnyék a havon (original title)
Mail <svaradi@sprynet.com> for translation. A harmincöt év körüli, elvált, anyagi gondokkal küszködö férfit egy napon a véletlen a postahivatalba sodorja, ahol tanúja lesz egy fegyveres ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Éva Almássy Albert
Zsófia Baji ...
Rebi, Gáspár lánya
...
Gáspár Sándor
Lajos Bertók
László Breyer
Zsolt Deák
Eszter Dudás
Gábor Ferenczi
Kristóf Forgács
Péter Györgyfalvay
Lajos Kovács
Johanna Kreft-Baka ...
Gáspár barátnõje
Jozef Kroner ...
Református pap
Kati Marton
Mária Rajna
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Storyline

Mail for translation. A harmincöt év körüli, elvált, anyagi gondokkal küszködö férfit egy napon a véletlen a postahivatalba sodorja, ahol tanúja lesz egy fegyveres rablásnak. A rablót megzavarják, a férfi felkapja a lába elé esö, nylonszatyorba csomagolt pénzköteget és elrohan. Menekülés közben, tudtán és akaratán kivül, halálosan megsebesit egy idös asszonyt. Büne véletlen. Bünhödése? Written by Steve Varadi <svaradi@sprynet.com>

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Drama

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Release Date:

14 August 1997 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

Cien na sniegu  »

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

 
A failed attempt
23 May 2016 | by (Budapest, Hungary) – See all my reviews

The story: 30-something Gáspár is divorced, unemployed and in debt. I would not say that he is struggling because we do not see him to actually do anything to improve his situation, unless we count borrowing further sums from his ex-wife. (She is not rich either but seems to hold a steady job in tourism.) One day he witnesses a robbery at the post office, a rather amateurish attempt. While some customers jump and disarm the robber, he gets the unguarded money bag on a whim and runs, but shoulders some old lady holding a scissors on his way out, accidentally killing her. (You would not believe me if I tried to tell how unremarkably this important scene was filmed.) Soon there is a good sketch of him in the papers and he is wanted for murder. The police also thinks him to be the accomplice of the original robber and he is supposed to be armed and dangerous.

His current lover refuses to deal with the whole problem and his ex-wife thinks it solved after they throw the money away. So she sends their little daughter to him as planned, but Gáspár loses his nerve and flies to some rural area near a border together with the girl. (We do not get to know what he hopes for, but Hungary has no neighbor that would not extradite an accused killer.) There they are chased by the military and more unexplained and illogical decisions follow. . .

What the filmmakers seem to have tried to accomplish: This is already from the era when most lesser Hungarian directors are influenced by Béla Tarr, in this case his early "Damnation." The influence of Jim Jarmusch's "Dead Man" is evident, too. So this film tries to make Tarr's atmosphere of grimness and hopelessness relatively easily understandable and consumable. Does so with imitating a thriller in its first half (there are plenty of Hitchcock references) but switching to the mood of traditional ballads in the end. This should explain the instinctive decisions of the hero and give him dignity, I guess.

Does this work? Regrettably not. There are no real characters, no sufficient motivation behind the acts and relations, no psychological depth and the story is not strong (mythological) enough to advance even without these. The dialogues are terrible: everybody speaks in the same style, resembling robots or retards -- quickly to the point, without any small-talk (which would be very impolite in the country) and nobody asks back the evident questions. So there is no credibility in either the hero's or the country's portrayal. The "road movie" part only adds more uninteresting and unbelievable characters.

The good points: There is no original music in this low-budget film, but the musical pieces are well-chosen and really add to the mood. Cinematography is pretty good sometimes: more exactly, it does not miss an easy target (frosty county roads, foggy mountain), while the indoor shots are not always good. It intentionally refuses to find beauty in anything that is man-made and modern.


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