The film is original on many levels. Released in 1996, based upon the brief window of "openness" in Hungary and other parts of Eastern Europe in 1989, offering contrasting glimpses of the time before and after. Questioning not only the east (Russia), but also the alternative, as proles from Russia, Hungary, and the West mingle in a suspended state, confused about what to do, and how to do it, in a world from which autocracy has suddenly, without preparation, been subtracted. The characters are each sharply drawn, convincingly played, by actors of great talent. In some sense the highly focused lens, following two Russian street musicians (whose musical styles even conflict) through their brief introduction to the middle ground between East and West in Budapest, explodes with the energy of the larger story in which it is enveloped - leaving a strong sense of arbitrary forces leading to resolutions which are anything but "storybook" in tone and sense of closure. Apparently the film grew out of the director's earlier experiences making a documentary about an actual pair of Russian musicians.
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