Few days before the 50th anniversary of 23rd October this is the best time to remember and meditate on. That's the reason why I think this film should be seen by everyone, and not just within the borders of Hungary.
Szabadság, szerelem (2006)
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Few days before the 50th anniversary of 23rd October this is the best time to remember and meditate on. That's the reason why I think this film should be seen by everyone, and not just within the borders of Hungary.
The scenes about the AVO brought back sad memories. It was a brutal organization. My family had first hand experience with them. The movie is a "must see" for anyone, not only Hungarians. The sub-titles were easy to follow for anyone who does not speak the language.
The movie was emotional and especially meaningful to me. I left Hungary in 1956.
October 22, 2007. Does anyone have any idea why this movie is not available anywhere here in the USA? I have purchased 4 DVDs for my family on our recent trip to Hungary, only to find out that we cannot play them on our DVD players (Region 1) It is very disappointing.
You must see this movie to understand peoples of Central and Eastern-Europe and their history. They are all victims of the worst and perhaps the cruelest dictatorship ever in the world. I love this movie. And after that I must say: I'm proud to be a Hungarian.
This movie is powerful and words can hardly describe it. From the beginning, the tension between Hungary and USSR is already very visible in the film. Patriotism build up quickly, leading to the uprising of the Hungarians. The initial optimism is portrayed in an effective manner, and the viewers certainly connect wit the characters with their sense of pride and achievement. Though the romance between the leading characters seem to have a weak foundation, the subsequent portrayal is strong. They are willing to risk their own life to protect another.
The plot is told in a precise and direct manner. The shooting scenes are highly graphic, possibly to remind the world what terror they have gone through. The persistence of Viki is remarkable. Her efforts in resisting the Russians is brilliantly portrayed, and viewers get to connect with the uprising through her. On one hand, the promise of a free Hungary drives them forward; but on the other hand, the well equipped USSR army showers them with bullets and grenades that obliterates all hope for a brighter future.
The final water polo match has such a symbolic meaning. Even though the Hungarians are losing the war, they can beat the enemy in other ways. Hope and glory are invested in the water polo team. Through tight editing, the match is so powerful and breathtaking that my heart pumped with every one of their moves.
I particularly find the ending very well done. With the same national anthem, we see the transition from despair in prison to glory in the sports hall. It is such an emotional scene, so intense and so moving.
I completely lost count on how many explosions this film has. In fact I think it must be the film with the most explosion scenes I have ever seen. The budget for this film must have been astronomical.
From my Hungarian friend, the movie is historically accurate. Is it right to die for a glorious cause? As this film points out at one juncture, "He didn't die for the country. He died because he was killed by a machine gun". This film is thought provoking. Are freedom fighters pursuing an impossible dream? Have they given up their lives for nothing? This is an exceptionally powerful film. It is compelling, touching and the most importantly, crystallises the spirit of the humankind's desire for freedom. It easily becomes one of my favourite films in recent years.
First the bad, then the goods... Dobó Kata is the only bad thing happened to this, but she's really bad. I never appreciated her - never saw any movie where she didn't pose in lingerie - but after this I have to say, she has to run around in lingerie because in clothes, there's nothing touching in her, nothing that makes you believe what she says, no emotions on her face whatever. She cannot act, that's it.
But the movie had so many strong appearances and so many talented people behind the cameras, that you easily forget about Dobó.
Iván Fenyö; is no surprise, he's been in the Jake Gyllenhal movie Jarhead before (which I didn't like though), and he can act. He's enjoyable here, not his best and not the best in the movie though.
Károly Gesztesi is phenomenal in his role as the coach, one of the most likable characters here. The other of the greatest performances is brought by Sándor Csányi. He's well-known for his leading role in Kontroll, and he simply outshines everyone here as well. The leading lady - after Dobó's failure - is surely Viki Szávai, Eszter in the movie (Dobó's best friend). She's playing so easily you can believe she's not even playing, it's her true self... I liked the character so much thanks her playing that the loss of her was one of the saddest moments for me though it was almost obvious what has to happen to her.
Vic Armstrong did a great job with what he had... The few tanks and other limitations didn't stop him to recreate what was happening on the streets of Budapest. You'll be scared by thinking it through, it's so real...
Kriszta Goda's second movie direction here makes you need to see the first as well. She did an amazing job here.
After all, I was touched, and touched is such a cliché when talking about this movie and the story behind it.
1956 means something for everyone who has at least a little percentage of Hungarian blood in his/her veins... either you were here afterwards and saw the aftermath, either you live here now as young and have the same needs, feelings for freedom, or you're living abroad and were raised on stories about Hungary and how your family had to live, run through the border while they were shooting at them... Or you've heard about the story, you know someone who's Hungarian. Or even reading about it here, and seeing this movie it'll change you a little bit, in what you think about Hungary. I hope less people will laugh at those cheap jokes by comedians on the US national TV after seeing this little history lesson.
No matter how many stories you've heard it's not like being there and seeing this movie will bring you back as a watcher, you'll understand them more and appreciate them more. After leaving the theater you'll surely believe the people who died on the streets or in the AVO prisons were true heroes. Makes you feel the need to do something patriotic as well...
Thus I hope everyone of you goes out to see it, internationally. After so many touching movies about American history, here's your chance to see how those in the Eastern block struggled and fought for their lives. It's totally different and I hope it'll bring difference.
Wanted to give a 10, but -1 coz of DK.
I am an American currently living in Hungary, and I felt very privelged last night, being able to see this film. There I sat in an auditorium, with a theater screen set up, and a projector as well; watching this film in a city of only 13,000, approximately one third of which sat all around me. I felt honored, and very happy to know that I was in this country, watching this film, amongst so many people who were celebrating an event that took place fifty years ago, here in this very country.
The film centers around a water polo team in the year 1956. It was in this year that people began to take up arms. They decided enough was enough. Communism had ruled for far too long by this point - but the tragedy was that it was to remain that way for a much, much longer time. At the end of the second world war, the Russians decided it was their turn to rule Hungary. They took it off the shoulders of the Germans, who had now lost, and Russia was the new Hitler. The star of the film is member of the Hungarian water polo team, and they become finalists in the Olympics that year. From the beginning of the film, until the end - we see the Revolution through the eyes of this young man. How he falls in love with a women, who is one of the leaders of the revolt, and finds himself fighting for his country alongside her.
Though it was a bit slow at times, and it was in Hungarian - it's a film, that in some ways you don't even really need to speak the language to understand. Although I'm semi-fluent in Hungarian, it was still very difficult for me to follow the dialogue. However, you can understand what's happening in the film, without a knowledge of what they're saying. A lot of explosions; fighting; guns; love scenes; and arguments - it's quite apparent most of the time what's going on.
I would say that acting wise -it's a Hungarian made movie. The actors are not the creme of the crop - but certainly better than your average Joe. The direction was brilliant, however. And I was quite amazed by the camera-work - and stage direction. Filmed on location in Budapest (and it's quite obvious), it gives those who have walked down some of the famous streets, and squares, chills down their backs, with the knowledge, that there were protesters and gun play in those places, all those years ago. Now, these streets and squares are famous tourist attractions.
Although I hate to give in to the self-pity most Hungarians carry around with them, I have to admit that the film does make you feel sorry for them as a people. First world war two, and then this. It was as though they were to never catch a break. Which might account for some of their cultural behaviors, even today. The communist mentality still seeping through. It is all apparent in the film, why they go about their ways, the way they do.
It is an interesting film, and a good historical reference. If anyone can find this with English subtitles (or subtitles for whatever language you speak), it might be good to see it, just so you know what actually happened in 1956, and how as much as the Hungarians fought for their freedom, life is not a movie- and the outcome was very realistic. They lost.
A final note. After the film, a lady who was in the car with me on my home, said something that I'll never forget. I mentioned that in the movie, I thought it was funny how someone got so excited, because they'd heard on the radio that the Americans were coming to save them. And, I said...I didn't think that was true, since I don't ever recall the Americans coming to the Hungarians aid. She said softly, and sadly, as though it were my fault, "No. You didn't come. You didn't come." A sad, yet memorable, historical and noteworthy event in world history. And, of course, in Hungarian history.
"Szabadság, Szerelem" is an impressive movie about two historic facts: the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and the "Blood in the Water" match in the Melbourne Olympic Games. The director Krisztina Goda and the writers Joe Eszterhas, Éva Gárdos, Géza Bereményi and Réka Divinyi succeed in promoting the Fiftieth Anniversary of the bloody revolution in his country, unknown for many people, through an engaging and full of emotions movie developed in a perfect pace. The dramatic story uses the romance and chemistry of two charismatic characters performed by Iván Fenyö and the gorgeous Kata Dobó associated to sports, more specifically water polo, and a magnificent team of actors, actresses and stunts, to disclose the foregoing historic events. The cinematography, art decoration and costumes give a wonderful reconstitution of Hungry in the 50's, associated to a stunning and touching soundtrack and great special effects. The story concludes with golden key with the wise message that "freedom is the greatest gift of all". My vote is nine.
Title (Brazil): "Sangue nas Águas" ("Blood in the Water")
Note: On 30 January 2016 I saw this movie again.
Maybe I have a soft spot for this movie, because it scened in my mother country. Maybe I could feel more the spirit of heroes who died in streets for their freedom, in that time. I don't know...
But a very strange thing happened after the film ended. Everyone left the cinema room in a complete silence. This has never happened in this cinema yet. Maybe I was not the only person in the room, who's been touched...
As always in a film, there were a few liberties taken with historical facts, but these were not huge and did not destroy the film. It was particularly timely with the riots this year in the streets of Budapest. The courage displayed and the sense of hope in a seemingly hopeless situation made the film especially poignant.
A film worth seeing. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in European history, courage, and Hungarians.
Sometimes, I don't like historical movies, because I know what comes next, but here, I never knew what can come in the following spot. The movie is not a history film, not a documentary, it's the story of Viki (Kata Dobo) and Karcsi (Ivan Fenyo) who fall in love in this fast moving always changing setting. We love the smooth lines of Kata Dobo's face, and we are a fan of her not because of her talent - so no complaints here... however, Ivan Fenyo excels throughout the movie and I'm looking forward a lot seeing his next title. Sandor Csanyi brings his usual very good form.
The movie is very authentic, all spots filmed at the proper real-life original scenes (buildings, streets), with real-life original guns, tanks, costumes. I guess, this movie must reveal a lot of emotions for people who were part of the revolution of Budapest 1956. (Hungarians raised againt the communist dictatorship, but the Red Army occupied the country and steyed in Hungary until 1990.)
As for water-polo scenes, you can expect the best, as all pictures were filmed with the national league of Hungarian water-polo players, a World #1 team!
This is a must see for water-polo fans, for people in Central-European studies and all those who have a Hungarian relative. Or see it just for the beautiful surroundings of Budapest. :-)
These familiar elements could also work to the films detriment. If a person was expecting a more subtle and stereotypically "artsy" European film, they might think this movie is too cliché, and that may be a fair criticism. Nothing in the movie is really surprising. Everything plays out exactly as you would expect, but that doesn't detract from the emotional core of the movie. Although the movie's themes of oppression and freedom are treated the way they are in most films, they still feel very effective and emotionally stirring. The characters are portrayed well enough that the viewer wants them to succeed and is invested in their story. Even if some of the things happening around them are a little cliché, you still want to follow them on their journey and see where it takes them.
The film is set in 1956, but this is not the fruitful post WWII, baby boomer 1950s that America was experiencing. Hungary looks much more impoverished under Soviet rule. It seems more like the 1930s or 1940s where there was an economic depression or strict rationing. It's clear that even before it became a war zone, Hungary was not doing very well during this time.
The film itself opens with a water polo tournament that establishes the Russians as Karcsi's rivals and sets up the tension between the Soviet Union and the countries that it controlled. The Hungarians do not like the Russians, and the Russians seem to view the Hungarian team with disdain. In the locker room the tension explodes into a fist fight the same way the tension would explode into a full blown revolution later in the movie. This is reminiscent of a lot of athletic movies that use the featured sport as a microcosm for society so social issues can be explored on a smaller scale. Remember the Titans used football the explore segregation and racial integration, and Children of Glory uses Olympic water polo to explore rebellion and Soviet oppression is Central Europe.
Aside from Karcsi the other main character and protagonist was Viki, a leader in the student protests that would turn into the Hungarian revolution. She is the reason Karcsi becomes involved in the revolution, as he is romantically pursuing her when the protests turn violent, and he gets caught up in the action. She's a more competent member of revolution than Karcsi, and her authority seems to carry a lot of weight in the rebellion. She is often shown being in charge of large groups of people, whereas Karcsi doesn't know what he's doing a lot of the time and begins the movie willfully ignorant about the protests and learns about what's going on along with the audience. While Karcsi is depicted as the primary protagonist, Viki is clearly the "hero" of the film. She often is often the only person willing to stand by her convictions and not give up on her cause, motivating the other rebels in the process.
The violence in the move is graphic in a very effective way. Gunfire is significantly louder than the rest of the audio, and when people get shot with higher caliper guns, parts of their bodies explode where the bullets hit them, sometimes exposing the bone underneath. This is especially graphic because the first shot hits a defenseless older woman. The Soviets have the Hungarians significantly out-gunned, so the battles result in a lot of Hungarians being killed, including bystanders and people not directly involved in the revolution. This heightens the threat of the Soviets as not only oppressors, but also murders. While there are relatively few battle scenes in the movie, when they do occur, it feels like there's a lot at stake. The threat of violence is never treated lightly and has dire consequences for the characters and for Hungary.
Children of Glory is an extremely accessible film about the ideas of freedom, oppression, and patriotism. It sheds light on a historic event most Americans don't know about, and most importantly it tells a compelling story.
The style of the film is as Hollywoodesque as can be: the constantly playing music by Nick Glennie-Smith ranges from bombastic to sentimental, always carefully following the conventions of epic movie scores. The plot is also somewhat predictable and includes all the scenes one expects to find in a classical war cinema: tragic deaths, recklessly brave resistance battles against almost indestructible enemy tanks, a woman crying over a dead body on a street and an oh-so-romantic "artistic" sex scene between the lead couple whose fragile romance blossoms despite the turmoil everywhere. However, the big budget also shows in good ways; the sets, props and costumes look authentic and the explosion-heavy action scenes are well created and directed. I also liked the brownish and bluish tones of the cinematography and the visual style in general.
Despite the athletic-sounding premise, the movie is not really a sports film as water polo is only played at the beginning and the end. The main purpose of the film has obviously been to commemorate the brave nation's patriotic efforts during the revolution and to remind audiences that war spectacles are not Hollywood's prerogative only. While the team's story is worth telling, I think the overall style is way too obvious in its emotional manipulation, and the general heavy-handedness hurts the film's chances to work as a truly affecting piece of cinema. On the surface it's an enjoyable war film though and can be enjoyed by fans of the genre.
Perhaps what took me by surprise, is how rich the production values are for this movie. Like films set against an historical backdrop, such as Black Book, Lust, Caution and the likes, Children of Glory never scrimped at fleshing out the masses who got themselves involved in the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, where a simple protest in a university spiralled into armed resistance involving thousands marching through the streets, showing their dissatisfaction of mistreatment by the Russians, and the usual chants of "Russians Go Home!".
While on a macro level it introduced us to the era of Soviet occupation in most of the eastern Europe bloc, this is essentially also a love story, between a national hero of a water polo player Karcsi Szabo (Ivan Fenyo) and student activist Viki Falk (Kata Dobo). Naturally their relationship doesn't start off smoothly, with a clash of ideals given that Karcsi is in a privileged position for his value to the country in sports, and having more to lose if the status quo is changed. For Viki, it's change that she, and her fellow student leaders, want to initiate, no matter how small their actions are, but soon enough, it became a hydra that went out of control, giving them a little victory, before the big sledgehammer of a retaliation when any typical authoritarian regime respond with their military might.
I guess with those in power, and having those who privilege themselves under such conditions, change will always seem threatening, be it to current lifestyles, or fear for their lives. It might appear selfish as demonstrated by Karcsi's mother in self preservation, constantly reminding Karcsi of his duty to win medals for his country, and not to mix with negative influences such as Viki, associated with trouble for her bearing of arms, and being part of the inner circle of the change movement. But we know love can't keep these two apart, right?
What made Children of Glory a delight, was besides the scenes of historical value, and its recreation of street battles, it had possibly the first water-polo sports game in a movie I had watched, and filmed it with plenty of excitement that you can't help but to cheer the Hungarian team on as they battle for pride, and for their countrymen's struggles back home, as they meet arch nemesis Russia during the 1956 Melbourne Olympic games, resulting in what was a bloody match in the pool. I thought this segment was very well shot, though you had to really sit through the film to be rewarded for a segment toward the finale.
Wonderful acting, rich costumes and sets, together with a blend of history to lend some narrative gravitas, make Children of Glory an excellent movie on many fronts. I like it enough for it to make it to my highly recommended list, and contender for the top 10 movies of the year list.
Truly original is the serious dealing with some ethics of sports. This film confronts us with questions like 'am I serving my country better by participating in the revolution, or by winning a gold medal at the Olympic games?' Or: 'am I a traitor to my team when I stay in Budapest to fight the Russians?'. Another one: 'do I have a moral obligation to those team-mates for whom water-polo is all they have?'.
Apart from this, 'Szabadsag Szerelem' reminds me of the famous 'Dr. Zhivago' from the mid-Sixties. However, I guess this is easy to say for someone without any emotional ties with Hungary. For those who have, I gather that watching this film still can evoke pretty strong emotions.
Director Kata Dobo has had every good reason to use certain elements familiar to commercial "western" films. It is an important story that should reach a wider audience. Far too many probably know little or nothing about these events. The Olympic games and the need for love are parallel stories in the film which we all understand, and yet are not melodramatic.
This leaves us to grasp just what the turmoil of revolution, secret police reprisals and finally the deaf ear of "the West" was about. I can imagine the Hungarians involved in making this film have put their souls into it. The least we can do is to listen this time to what they have to say. The film once over, I can't imagine anyone not getting the message.
It is inevitable that a film portraying a revolution without the massive (and often excessive) funding of "western" films, can only show examples of key ingredients - the Molotov cocktails, conviction and doubt, Russian brutality, divided loyalties, chaotic emergency services, daredevil teenagers, family divisions, honesty and deception. These true aspects come across not only sufficiently, but well, especially one of the most noteworthy of them: the women at the forefront of the fighting.
The modest colouring is in tact with the time, and the mood. The observer is carried from one realistic scene to the another as quickly as the bewildering swiftness of the revolution must have unfolded at the time.
At the time, in fear of making the cold war colder, the leaders of the West, with President Eisenhower at the top of the list, support for the Hungarian cry for freedom was shamefully guarded, but as the scenes from the Melbourne Olympics demonstrated, public opinion was not unguarded. This film presents an excellent opportunity for some to recall what really happened in Hungary in 1956, for others a first insight. Luckily the jury of the Berlin international film festival seized the opportunity.
It should be noted that these two people improved the standard of Australian Water Polo and should be named as honorable members in the Australian Sports Hall of Fame for the development work they did.
I would like to know where both Anton and Imrie are today and if they have since returned to their home land of Hungary.Perhaps somebody out there knows the full story and would be kind enough to let me know.
I think the acting was also generally good, Csanyi never disappoints, Gesztesi comes through as always, etc. However, the two lead characters could have done a better job - both Fenyo and Dobo have a difficult time conveying emotions. Fenyo usually looks like a bored android and Dobo - well, whatever.
The biggest problem is the inane writing. The plot is just a cheap TV-movie template, predictable, clichéd and often gratuitous. What's even worse is the dialogue. It's comic-book level, sometimes even worse. I was at the point of leaving the theatre after several badly written lines that would have looked out of place even in a high-school essay.
Anyways, go see it for the pictures and for the great background story, if you are not familiar with Hungary's shining moment in 20th century history. But don't expect profound entertainment or a thrilling story.
As often, history is the best playwright. Too bad the human ones didn't live up to the job.
It is an interesting part of European history, and the film is doing a good job representing it. The story line, however, is very weak. It simply has too many elements trying too hard to make the film popular (sport references, romantic touch, etc). Basically, '56 did not happen in Hollywood. Acting is great, except the main female character played by Dobo. This might have been a bit too difficult task for her.
I would probably not like this film at all if I had no connection with Hungary.