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Very interesting documentary about the Hungarian water polo team that
defeated the Soviet Union in the semi finals of the 1956 Olympics, and
the Hungarian uprising against the Soviets that was going on at the
same time. I had no idea any of this took place, so it was a very
informative documentary. All of the surviving Hungarian team members
were interviewed as well as some of the Soviet members and they told
about their experiences before, during, and after the match.
It was well made and well edited, the film-making did a great job with all of the material they had to go through to put it together.
Produced by Lucy Liu and Quentin Tarantino and narrated by world famous swimmer Mark Spitz, I hope this film gets a wider release so that many people can learn about this amazing story.
Hello and greetings to all of you visiting this preview...
As one who took part in the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and have studied the cause and aftermath thereof, I find the film is an excellent retelling of the events of those days. What makes it specifically valuable, that it was created by non-Hungarians, young Americans without bias Hungarians might have had. The outside onlookers, a far later generation with the objectivity of the time lapsed since, who had to do a lot of research and studying.
This film is considered by many, historians and participants alike, as one of the most historically accurate documentations of the events leading up to the revolution, and the days thereafter.
The underlying story of the Melbourne Olympic Water polo "fight" between Hungarians and Russians while the first war between Socialist Countries, Hungary and Russia was still being fought in Hungary, gives it a social value, interest created by the sport, without emphasizing the street-fights and killings.
To see and hear Mark Spitz at the Los Angeles showing of the film was an extra great bonus. I sure hope, it will be available very soon on DVD.
Colin Gray and Megan started to work on this project about five years ago, with the hope to complete the film for the 50th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and Freedom Fight.
They did succeed, and congratulations and "Thank you" is well deserved and in order from all of us, who were part of that Revolution, to all of those who helped create the film.
I'll admit I had misgivings. Was this going to be a hackneyed,
pathos-dripping American documentary with a naïve voice-over
commentary, relegating the "local talent" to the role of extras and
curiosities? Within two or three minutes it was obvious it was not -
there is a sensitivity and an unhurried feel (though there is action
enough for anyone, in and out of the water) to the making of this film
that could teach many a lesson. The protagonists are given room to tell
their story, and - particularly in the case of those who lived the
Uprising and several very articulate and immensely likable members of
the Hungarian Olympic side - they grab it with both hands and
effectively take things over.
The history, and the tragedy of what went down in the fall of 1956, is also presented in detail and not in sound-bites for the attention-deficient, and you are left with a feeling that everyone involved knew that they were dealing with a subject that deserved their full attention, and that they had amazing picture material that should be allowed to speak for itself. Gripping, heartwarming, uplifting, some seamless blending of archive footage and modern recreations, and worthy of a much larger audience.
Kudos to Mark Spitz, too, for a job well done, but then again, when you read the final credits you know why - how could he have DARED to let his old schoolboy coach down?
As a side observation, it was good to see the members of the defeated Soviet water polo team in good cheer. When the Soviet Union's football team was defeated by Yugoslavia at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, just four years after Tito had humiliated Stalin politically, the players did not fare quite so well. Stalin had expected much more out of the country's first appearance at the Olympics. He immediately disbanded CSKA Moscow, who had provided most of the national side, the result of the game was not published in the USSR until 1954 (a year after his death), and many of the unfortunate players (let's face it, they only had the bad luck to come up against a very very good Yugoslav team, who took the silver medals behind the magnificent Hungarians and Ferenc Puskas) allegedly wound up in labour camps. At least Nikita Khrushchev did not stoop THAT low in 1956. There is also quite a good TV-documentary about this particularly ugly footnote in footballing history, but I cannot for the life of me find it now...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a brilliant documentary! Whether you are interested in sports,
history or just purely what freedom means and what people will do for
it or nations to repress it, it will give you something to contemplate
for a long time. I think it will appeal to people who have experienced
or seen repression elsewhere.
It puts the 1956 Hungarian revolution beautifully into context. It took USSR 2000 tanks (same number as Hilter had to advance the whole western front in WW2) to defeat the uprising of a spirited nation.
It's also lovely portrait of water polo and what it means to Hungary and Hungarians.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I just came across this at the library. I am a big fan of documentaries
and I have to say that this one is excellently made. The pacing is
great. I love how they link the huge (Revolution) to the what seems
less important ( a water polo match). I love this lack of separation.
They really show well the consequences of living under a dictatorship
and oppression. Also well shown is how a popular movement of regular
people can make a difference. I also learned much about water polo and
I much more interested than I ever was before.
It is also a wonderfully paced and well edited piece. Great musical score. I also love that they are very fair and show all perspectives on the uprising. I really learned much that I did not know about this event.
Having said this there are some bones I have to pick with them.
A very minor one is that they make it look like the civil rights movement was inspired by this. That there would have been no civil rights movement without this uprising. Definitely, not true. The civil rights movement was going on long before 1956. I have also read nothing on the subject of civil rights that shows that they were directly inspired by Budapest.
One big thing that was missing was the effect of the match had on a recently crushed people. That was a segment that should have been in there. Maybe some interview questions from the people in prison of what they felt when they found out about the results of the match.
Having made these criticism, I still have to say that this a fantastic film. The positives outweigh the negatives by a huge margin.
Not only, is this worth seeing, it worth seeing again and again. Definitely worth owning.
Considering that the events in this documentary took place in 1956,
most people out there (including myself) were not alive at the time and
only know of the events through history books....if folks bother to
read them. I am old enough, however, to remember much of the Cold War
and when the US and USSR were at each other's throats--so the context
for "Freedom's Fury" is something I do understand. But, with lots of
young folks who were born after the fall of the Iron Curtain, much of
this film might come as a surprise--and it's a wonderful history lesson
about these tense times.
Mark Spitz (yes, THAT Mark Spitz) narrates this documentary about the 1956 Hungarian Olympic Water Polo team and their match-up with the Soviet Union's team. However, before discussing this, the film spends a lot of time explaining the failed 1956 Hungarian revolt against the Soviets. All of the information is well presented--with the usual interviews and film footage. And, in addition to talking about these events, the film ends by showing a reunion of the team--along with a few members of the old Soviet team. I really liked this part--especially since it provided a bit of hope and a nice conclusion to the documentary. Overall, very well done, interesting, uplifting and well worth your time.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
True story of the brutal clash between Hungary and USSR in the water polo pool at the 1956 Olympics. As the Soviet tanks were suppressing the peoples' uprising in Hungary, the Water Polo team decided to give the population something to cheer about by kicking the Soviets ass in the water polo pool. Narrated by Mark Spitz this wonderful film, with much archive footage, tells the story of that clash. It includes interviews with the surviving players and shows what the Hungarian people went through. The team gave the people at home the one thing that the USSR had tried to take away ..... HOPE. Everyone should see this film, not just sports buffs and I urge everyone, if they get the chance, to visit Budapest. Like a lot of Eastern Europe, it is a beautiful City and the people are most friendly.
This movie's History Channel style of editing, production and scoring cheapen an otherwise riveting story. And while the Soviet Union is rightly portrayed as the imperial aggressor for its murderous response to the Hungarian uprising of 1956, there is little effort to place the narrative in any meaningful context outside a kind of generic idea of freedom. It's hard not to interpret this oversimplification of history as unwitting agitprop for an unstated purpose. But more than this, and to reiterate, there's no need to dumb down and dress up history with crappy canned TV docudrama music, misleading editing, and cheesy graphics. If a story is good, let it tell itself and you won't have to pasteurize it for the masses.
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