A wry view of Hungarian history by a legendary old timer
Viewed at the Hungarian film week 2004 in Budapest
For the past few years legendary director Miklos Jancsó, now 83, has been making small low-budget films, quickly slapped together on Budapest locations, almost like home movies, employing a stopck company of favorite actors and friends and making wry comments on current topics of interest in Hungary. Were they not signed with a name like Jancsó nobody would bother giving them a second look, and they will have zero interest for non-Hungarians, but, as it is, they do comprise a kind of scrap book of a great director's twilight years, and so they have been dutifully presented in the annual Hungarian film week (Magyar film szemle) during the past four years as passing curiosities.
The latest installment entitled "The disaster of Mohacs" (A Mohácsi Vész) is perhaps the best of the batch in that it is a little more coherent than its episodic predecessors and deals with time travel back to the year 1526 when a catastrophic defeat at the hands of the Turks took place, in a stitched together time machine which is at least funny to watch. His usual protaganists, scream-a-minute garbage mouth "Moochie" Zoltan and roly-poly wimp Peter Scherer, who constitute a kind of Abbot and Costello comedy team in these films, are on a mission to save Hungary from the Turks by going back to 1526 Mohács to change a few things. It may be noted in passing that part of the inherent humor is reflected in the commonly heard Hungarian expression "It's not as bad as Mohács", which is said to reassure somebody that "Things could be worse". The defeat at Mohács plunged Hungary into a two century long Turkish occupation and is consequently regarded as one of the greatest military disaster in Hungarian history. Leave it to Jancsó and his gang to take an ironically comical view of an historical catastrophe...
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