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
The character of Adam Sonnenschein/Sors (played by Ralph Fiennes) draws heavily upon the life and death of two great Hungarian Jewish sabreurs, Attila Petschauer and Endre Kabos (winner of Olympic Gold in Sabre at the 1936 Berlin Games). Tragically, neither survived World War II and the Holocaust. See more »
When Adam Sors returns to Budapest after the 1936 Olympics, there is a brief shot of the train station in Budapest showing several Bzmot type trains that were first put in use in 1977. See more »
I enjoy European history a great deal, but when my European history class tried to find a good modern European history movie this year, all we could think of was a bunch of war movies. Obviously, there is a lot more to modern Europe than watching snipers creep around Stalingrad and other such things.
In "Sunshine," I found an answer to my search. It is undoubtedly the best historical portrait of Europe from the late 19th-mid 20th century that I have ever come across. It does an EXCELLENT job of showing the emotions and realities of the progressions of Europe during this time. Since it is in Hungary, we are exposed to monarchy, fascism, and communism, all of which are portrayed vividly.
As if the history was not enough, the movie is wonderful in other ways as well. Ralph Fiennes has the opportunity to showcase an amazing range of emotions and personalities in this movie, as he plays three different characters. It was also pure genius on the part of the movie staff to cast a real life mother and daughter to play the same woman at various stages of her life.
Great movie, I highly recommend it.
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