The film follows a Jewish family living in Hungary through three generations, rising from humble beginnings to positions of wealth and power in the crumbling Austro-Hungarian Empire. The patriarch becomes a prominent judge but is torn when his government sanctions anti-Jewish persecutions. His son converts to Christianity to advance his career as a champion fencer and Olympic hero, but is caught up in the Holocaust. Finally, the grandson, after surviving war, revolution, loss and betrayal, realizes that his ultimate allegiance must be to himself and his heritage. Written by
This historical epic/family drama from the master of Hungarian cinema, Istvan Szabo (Mephisto, 1981; Being Julia, 2004) is a wonderful and memorable film that has been overlooked, underrated and sadly under-seen.
This is a moving and always engrossing drama about one Jewish-Hungarian family that rises and falls throughout the 20th century. Ralph Fiennes is outstanding as the grandfather, the father and the grandson. All three - complex and tragic characters, victims of their times, politics and wars. I think it was a brilliant idea to cast one actor as a face of three generations of one family. If ever anyone attempts to adapt Marquez's "One Hundreds Years of Solitude", that's how it should be done, IMO.
"Sunshine" is three hours long but never for a minute had I felt it was too long or it was losing its power. It is a serious, thought-provoking film which is also a superb work of art.
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