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 »
[talking to Ivan Sors]
I left your grandfather once. I fell in love with another man. Your grandfather and I hadn't been getting along. He wasn't the sort of person I hoped he'd be. The other man was passionate, a wonderful lover. That is important, darling. He gave me an old medallion engraved with: "I love you."
When your grandfather get in trouble with the Communists, I came back. You must try to find joy in your life.
See more »
Significant, powerful, and brilliantly/beautifully executed
One of the best films I've seen in many years. Long by current standards, but my interest/involvement never lagged for a moment. It works on many levels, all of which examine and ultimately show the futility of assimilation, given how unstable and unreliable is any governmental structure with which one attempts to identify. Effort to assimilate across generations in Hungary becomes increasingly demanding as the lived world becomes ever more dehumanizing and brutal. Fiennes has never been better in cross-generational roles, and others excellent as well. But a woman is the censor and conscience across time.
23 of 31 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this