Three generations of Hungarian Jews with a furniture shop in Budapest: at the center is the love affair of Imre and Gerda. Imre is the elder son of the family patriarch, a veteran of the ...
See full summary »
Three generations of Hungarian Jews with a furniture shop in Budapest: at the center is the love affair of Imre and Gerda. Imre is the elder son of the family patriarch, a veteran of the Great War. Imre greets Gerda when she arrives from Germany to teach; he shepherds her through a sham marriage and divorce so that she, an Aryan, can marry him. He becomes a Christian and has their son Kisfiu, the story's narrator, baptized. We follow family fortune from brief Bolshevik rule in 1919 through the rise of the Nazis, Imre's life in a camp, hiding during World War II, the fate of Gerda and Imre's brothers, the ascendancy of the Communists, revolt, and Kisfiu's growing up.Written by
A fragmented film that gets lost in historical events
I saw this film as my first film in the Jerusalem Film Festival 2000. It was under the Jewish Films category, and I agree that that was an adequate category. Nevertheless, it has been a while since I saw a film and wondered why did anyone bother financing it... This is the story of Imre, a Hungarian Jew whose family go from the 20's all the way to the 70's (?) but is told through Imre son's eyes. It is obvious at first that the film wants to tackle the subject of the strange circumstances that historical events has created to Jews living in Hungary, starting with Imre looking for a non-Jew wife (and he picks a German woman, no less), the strife during the war (the family hides) and then through the Soviet occupation of Hungary. All the time we are reminded of the Jewish issue in numerous times. But the films gets very quickly lost in scenes that make no sense or importance to the overall plot. Actually, pointing at a plot is hard because the fragments center on the family, or rather individuals with very limited character development and then would take a twist and center on a totally random character for a while and then leave that character without ever returning to it (as it happens with the characters of the priest, the investigator or Fritz, the mother's brother). Then we have a series of unexplained script decisions: the mother has an almost silent part while she is a very important figure in the movie; her German brother shows up in the middle of the war, mumbles a word or two in German and in the next scene he is in bed with his sister (who is soothing him) and he speaks Hungarian (!); the grandfather is a completely odd character that has little relevance to the plot; random characters appear and go; we get to see a young girl undress in front of the story teller (Imre's son) without any reason what so ever story-wise; Imre gives his wife's shirt to his concentration camp commander (or something) who would die (?) wearing what he believed would be his strengthening shirt, spurting out mud instead of blood - now what is this fantasy/surreal element doing here? Is the mother a witch?!; and by the end, the film has lost historical accuracy or the audience's attention. This might have been a fair movie had the director chose a coherent plot, would have stopped filming shots from moving bikes, cars and trains and would have concentrated in believable characters and manageable situations that we could relate to. They are all odd characters, detached from reality and very often complete idiots. And how did the director got anyone to finance this movie - is beyond me.
2 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this