A German stage actor finds unexpected success and mixed blessings in the popularity of his performance in a Faustian play as the Nazis take power in pre-WWII Germany. As his associates and ... See full summary »
Klaus Maria Brandauer,
Banned for over a decade for its outspoken criticism of the post-WWII communist regime in Hungary, Péter Bacsó's 'The Witness' has since then achieved unparalleled cult status in its native... See full summary »
Unemployed and broke, Owen is having a terrible week. It's not until he saves a wealthy Japanese businessman from a couple of thugs that Owen's luck begins to change. He's promised an easy ... See full summary »
A tale based on the life of Wilhelm Furtwangler, the controversial conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic whose tenure coincided with the controversial Nazi era. One of the most spectacular ... See full summary »
This film is about the relationship of a mother and her daughter, the split-up of their family, the blessing and curse of belonging together and about coming of age - all this from the ... See full summary »
Young honest public official is sworn in after his predecessor had to leave due to a corruption scandal. Soon, the young idealist discovers just how far-reaching the corruption is in his town and how easy it is to become corrupt yourself.
The story shows Emma's and Böbe's fight for survival, for keeping their position in society which they achieved with hard work in the previous regime. They don't want to lose their place and become village girls again.
Johanna ter Steege,
The Tót family resides in Northern Hungary. The couple has a daughter and a son, the latter a member of the armed forces. When his weary major is ordered to take a vacation, the son talks ... See full summary »
For Sixty years Elizabeth II has met each of her twelve Prime Ministers in a weekly audience at Buckingham Palace- a meeting like no other in British public life- it is private. Both ... See full summary »
Jancsi Oláh is in the transitional phase between adolescence and adultness. He is born in 1938, and is now getting his first employment as an electronic engineer. On some TV-screens he ... See full summary »
Szabo Istvan is not a contemplative filmmaker - which I don't really mean as an insult. A lot of "contemplative" filmmakers, at their worst, seem constipated more than anything (see some of the films of Szabo's younger countryman, Tarr Bela), whereas Szabo can achieve a forward propulsion that can at times be dazzling, as in the films with scenery-chewing actor Klaus Maria Brandeur that were the height of his international fame, or in "Being Julia." The director has a peculiar way of editing that has existed from his early Hungarian features ("Father," "25 Fireman's Street"); scenes often end abruptly, as though he had chopped the end off them, and then run to the next scene. This gives Szabos' films an odd rhythm that is alluring in his best work, but maddening and even incoherent in his less successful efforts.
"The Door" is not a peak; it is hardly a failure either. It shows the Szabo style at its best and worst. The dialogue is flung out by the actors, and can have the kind of hard brilliance that's found in the old screwball comedies (Helen Mirren, in what may be the best performance of her career as an astonishingly cantankerous old cleaning woman, has some especially hilarious insults and bitter, sour-faced advice-dispensing here), but much of it is also simply hard to catch. The movie keeps a fine, sprinting pace most of the way through. It only starts to crumble in the final quarter, at which point I admit I wasn't entirely sure what was going on. And here we have the failure of Szabo's films uncontemplative style. Watching his less successful films it is as if his producer has told him that he absolutely must clock in at under a certain time. "The Door" feels rushed; it hurries to the end, and suffers for it. One feels the same in other films directed by Szabo: "Taking Sides," which is gripping and interesting but finally frustrating, and the ambitious "Sunshine," which attempts to stuff Hungarian history from the late 19th century to the post-war era in under three hours.
Still, "The Door" is almost a great film from one of the last living European film directors of the old school. All of Szabo's work is worth seeking out. It's a shame that the few remaining filmmakers in the grand European style are marginalized - even when they make fine English-language movies with Oscar winners (see also Tavernier's "In the Electric Mist"), it's lucky if these see the light of day in most countries, while young "provocateurs" with nothing to say are lauded in the major festivals. And there's something at my local cinema titled "Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters"...
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