Sunset (2018) Poster


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What a big-headed realization!
FrenchEddieFelson23 March 2019
I saw this movie, in an unpremeditated way, kindly accepting the choice of a friend who absolutely wanted to see it. So without any a priori at all. Pros: photography, costumes and sets are all 3 excellent. We really feel in Budapest in 1913. Cons: this is an unintelligible and almost unpleasant sequence of scenes; it's ultra-rough!. A dozen times, I asked myself: what's the relationship between the current scene and the previous one(s)?!? I can not believe that this movie was directed by László Nemes, author of the unforgettable and poignant 'Saul fia'. According to some people, it's art and/or an advanced form of expression. Well, well, well, ... Honestly? I didn't understand a damn thing. Really!

In summary: visually amazing but desperately boring ... Please László, come back to earth!
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Just seen it at Venice
t-viktor2123 September 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Sunset, just as Son of Saul, is a hard pill to swallow. It uses a similar visual technique and style as Nemes' debut film, it is very slow, it doesn't have a crystal-clear interpretation. Nevertheless, it is an expression of cinema as a form of art.

Seeing Sunset clarifies which are the recurring elements of Nemes' style, and which were specific to his debut film. Do not expect to see any wide scenery shot of late-Belle Epoque Budapest. During much of the film there are mainly close ups of the lead character, and the surrounding action is left out of focus, except when the lead looks at something, thus maintaining his point of view throughout most of the film. Photography is stunning throughout the film, there are several clever uses of windows, focus, composition (an example being the shot of the lead, Irisz, sitting in a stagecoach with the outside road visible on the left of the screen that you can see here on imdb) and many long takes.

There is little dialogue throughout the film (and I'd say that 1/3 of it is various characters telling the lead she should leave), and the plot is very confusing because of that: much of the backstory is intentionally omitted or just mentioned, so that some motives of the conflict between various characters remain concealed.

The film is set in 1913 not because of historical events (everything that happens in the film is fiction) but for allegorical reasons: the film's subject is the end of an era in European history, the beginning of a period of bloodshed, and also the downfall of the Imperial regimes that were led by nobility. During all of this, Irisz stoically (much like Saul did in Nemes' previous work) witnesses the decline of his age around him, almost as if she herself is an allegory of Europe. The gorgeous final sequence of the film seems to confirm this interpretation. I wouldn't say that the acting performances are particularly relevant, as many characters stoically deliver their few lines of dialogue, however this does not detract from the film's overall quality.

Sunset may not be Oscar-nomination worthy (then again, who knows?), but it is definitely a compelling film that is very European in taste, quality and artistic value.
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It could be better
Irena_Spa30 November 2018
I guess I was expecting more dynamics, but unfortunately didn't see it. Too much protractedly and like it turns around and turns, and turns. Nothing compared to the previous one. Yes, the style is the same, fast moving camera in one frame, ok, but it should be more than that considering giving us the good story. This is just running through some smoke, darkness, shiness and perhaps the picture of preparing for the war.
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"Leiterna Magica" - after my first viewing of SUNSET
mrfreiberg19 September 2018
Warning: Spoilers
With Sunset Nemes Jeles Laszlo is lifting the onion peels of a long gone world buried in mud, the veils of its many lights giving us a feverish look behind the scenes, just in order to confront us with even more layers, riddles and archetypical myths that dominate the mysteries of life from behind the curtains at all times and that is all we as mortals are allowed to see. It is a call for that in order to understand the colours one has to study the old myths and the ways of the stars (aka "Le- eter-nity") and not to remain stuck in a logical mind as we are trained to but to allow that many versions can be true at the same time, like the rainbow shows the whole spectrum of light. Do not stare at it, but get its blessing. David Lynch's Mullholland Drive, Thomas Mann ("Felix Krull"), Hermann Hesse, Arthur Schnitzler, Stanley Kubrick - they all showed in that direction. Iris Leiter: Iris is a pure eye he is giving us, but also the messenger of God, the rainbow, reminder of tragedy, harbinger of evil without knowing it. When she arrives at the house of her father who must have left long ago, an irreversible underground stream starts to surface. The process of downfall speeds up when she finds out she has a brother, maybe her twin brother, the second rainbow, a shadow of herself, Kalman or Arka, messenger of the Titans, often disguised with a beard, but sometimes looking like a elegant prince of many versions, or even in the androgyne version of herself. Confusing play like that of the beasty behaviour of animal natured Gaspar, who - same as Doktor Herz, her heart - turns out to be a helper in those chaotic last days of the apocalypse: wild Gaspar is there to help like the dog of the fools Tarot card bringing her on the right but dangerous path of truth. She travels with the speed of light (aka Leiter - "lighter") in the horse coach, like a lighting bolt from the old world to the new, along the yellow sunshine brick road, nothing can stop her, through the little window we can see what world she is leaving behind, she the regent of the underworld and the deep waters (neither can her boat be stopped by the remains of Sandor as the morning of the new era dawns). She herself is the last ray of the setting sun on a civilization doomed to vanish, Sandor - her brother alter - asks her "why did you wake us up?", elements that will bring dark change and destruction, like in a vampire tale he is asking it (and when the morning comes he has to die), living dead are rising by the opening the crypt, Iris' decyphering of the hat shops cryptic reality and lies opens a bottomless pit, dark battleing Zelda and Oscar Brill who governs over the heritage, get more and more distressed by her sheer presence, Oscar the brilliant, shining Oscar, Brill like glasses in German, only reflecting the light like the moon, he wants to stay the Leiter, the leader, the Leitwulf, the Leitmotiv, the dominating Leitkultur and world view and hopes he can stop the change by ignoring the change, but as the moon he has his dark side, the name he took over changed him already into a "leiht er", the one who lends and bestows, not just the Leiter light and a good countenance with the hats he sells also as protection from the sun and fashion, but even the girls who work for him, he lends to the nobility and what the noble men are doing with the virgin chosen ones brings just more and more suffering - Leid. Too much for the world to take, nurturing the revolution against the rich and the status quo. But even those high places with it's hidden rituals are reached by the light of Iris even faster than the black hand of her brother's dark sect of wild men going berserk, so fast Oscar cannot escape, he the one who tried to cut the sprouts, the sprungs of the ladder (Leiter), offspring like Iris, to keep his secrets hidden and with this he goes even further down the downward slope on the hill (in Bavarian expressed as Leiter) were was once the house that was shining, now in its last moments of the downward spiral of a trip that had began to turn already too long ago into the wrong direction. There is a big circle in front of the house and a round circus tent behind it, making the hat shop to a midpoint in the sign of eternity, the centre of Hamlet's mill, the place which connects this world to the heavens and the underworld (aka Leiter, the ladder of Jack and the beanstalk, the tree of eternity), that's why so many mirrors and glasses, doorways and tunnels can be seen, even through the ceiling he can watch over his world like a ghost viewing the life of the mortals below (and Iris like Alice through the looking glass), that's why the crypt is found and opened there, and he asks Iris to make it a place that can even welcome a queen. And the royals arrive, shining with glitter, a kaleidoscope of light, but the more we get closer to them, it's getting clearer they are decadent since long, mind corrupted insanes, no measure applies to those immoderate heads, shielded by co-opting secret services to her majesty in shining white, who involuntary show Iris like Alice the way deeper down into the rabbit hole. And the more we learn, the faster and hastier it gets. It is a dream in a dream and we cannot be sure on how alive are the living, how dead are the dead and if they have left the building, the labyrinths, the mirror cabinet, the crowded markets, sometimes it's even hard to understand the people talking or our acoustics neglect the obvious, as if our bodies, our senses have left us, we travel together with Iris, nothing is sure any more, a feverish dream indeed, where the archetypes, the underlying basics of reality come into foreground and fight their fight like the Countess and Otto von in her castle, who are but a already rotten version of the Chymical wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz, her boy is emotionally raped, an MK Ultra slave and gets presented as a Wunderkind, to function as another front to hide behind, by entertaining the masses as long as possible with awe, the result of bad alchemy mixed with lust, greed and anger leaving us with the four elements, fire (the torches), water (the river), air (the balloon) and earth (the trenches of WW1, where it all ends and gets buried) and they all tell us, there is nothing more to understand, and it's getting all vaporized anyway in order to make way for another, even darker empire to follow soon. There are many more hints and symbols to decipher in this most beautiful picture and mystery thriller, brave tale and and an ever braver take on nowadays reality - I just wait to watch it again - thank you Laszlo and all you wonderful crew for making this film, thank you for this hell of a journey!
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Very bad
kungfucsiga24 December 2018
The worst hugarian film I ever seen. No one answers the whole movie... no one knows why, except the director.
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The clue is there is no clue
igeorge198220 December 2018
It is a very suspense heavy one with Altman-like narrative and with all over a Twin Peaks upbeat. The final scene, which is too plastic, is rather an ex machina ending, than anything else, which really makes it a hard movie, because at the end we would also expect to be able align with her, but it just doesn't really happen.
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perrymartin28 March 2019
I didn't understand a ting. Don't waste your time ⏳
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tough to watch, fascinating to look at
ferguson-612 April 2019
Greetings again from the darkness. Hungarian filmmaker Laszlo Nemes mesmerized us with his first feature film, SON OF SAUL (2015), the Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language film. That debut was an incredibly unique viewing experience centered on the Holocaust at Auschwitz. Mr. Nemes got much of the band back together for this follow up, and their collaboration, while a bit frustrating to watch, is again quite fascinating to look at.

Mr. Nemes co-wrote the script with his SON OF SAUL writing partners Clara Royer and Matthieu Taponier (also the film's editor). And for those that share my frustration in watching the film, it's the story that is likely to blame. Is there a story? Certainly not in the traditional sense - which makes it difficult to follow or try to explain. Irisz Leiter (played by Juli Jakab) is first seen being fitted for fine hats in the elegant shop that bears her family name. We soon learn her parents both died, and she has been absent from the city for many years. The new owner, Oszkar Brill (Vlad Ivanov, 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS, 2007) is startled to learn of Irisz's return, though we aren't sure why he is so uncomfortable around her. Irisz soon discovers she has a brother (a surprise to her) and that he is quite notorious in these parts.

Much of the film focuses on Irisz trying to track down her brother, and then track him down again. That's the closest thing to a plot we get. Mostly it's a succession of scenes where people ask questions that never get answered. In fact, there is minimal dialogue to go with the now-familiar camera work of cinematographer Matyas Erdely who utilizes his SON OF SAUL first person perspective with background fuzzed out so that we see what one person is seeing. There is an underlying theme of what is apparently a corrupt part of a mysterious sub-culture in the society - even involving the Royal family. Keep in mind this is 1913 Budapest and war is at hand.

The set design and costume design are extraordinary ... especially the lavish hats from the era. The score is from Laszlo Melis (also from SON OF SAUL), and while Ms. Jakab is pleasant to look at, the story is disorienting and unfulfilling. The approach with the camera work is designed to force us to see things through the characters' eyes, but it's not enough to offset the incoherent and aimless wanderings of Irisz as she collects scraps of information that may or may not be pertinent. Perhaps you are smarter than I am, and will be able to connect the dots ... or at least find dots to work with.
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LGBTQ+ reading
shoshanaaniston25 October 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I think the film is brilliant, and it can be read as LGBTQ+. The protagonist uses drag to collect information about the girls who were sent to the Prince. She dresses as a man, and that's why she can enter the 'Boys Club' literally and figuratively in a poor district of Budapest. Also, in the last scene, we see Írisz in a WWI trench, and I think that Írisz also uses drag to participate in the boys' game, namely war. The style of the movie can be a little confusing, but the viewer can put the pieces together, and it does not require hard work, just paying attention to - not even tiny - details. I think the style and the narration of the film open the door to many interpretations, including this LBGTQ+ one.
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A major disappointment
paul-allaer4 May 2019
"Sunset" (2018 release from Hungary; 142 min.) brings the story of Irisz Leiter. As the movie opens, we are told it is "the early 1910s", and Irisz has come to Budapest, hoping to land a job at the Leiter House, a legendary upscale hat store. Turns out the store was founded by her parents, who passed away when she was just 2 years old. The current owner, Mr. Brill, declines to give her a job, despite her obvious talent and pedigree. Later that day, Irisz is confronted by a guy who claims to act on behalf of her brother. Irisz is bewildered, not knowing that she had/has a brother... What happened to her parents? what is the deal with this mysterious brother? At this point we are less than 15 min, into the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: this is the highly anticipated new movie from Hungarian writer-director Laszlo Nemes, whose debut film, 2015's "Son of Paul", was as astonishing as it was harrowing and haunting (and promptly winning the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Movie). I had it as one of my top movies of that year as well. Now three years later, and with a generous budget (for Hungarian standards), comes this. My expectations were high, alas way too high as it turns out. Where did it all go wrong? Let's start with the most obvious: a movie of this kind will succeed only if one buys into the story and is invested. emotionally, in the characters. I am sorry to say that the movie fails gigantically on that level. I hoped to become connected or invested into the Irisz character, but it just didn't happen. At no point did Nemes give me any reason or excuse to become emotionally invested. If you have seen "Son of Saul", you know that it was filmed in a very peculiar way (many extreme close-ups and filmed from behind the main character's perspective, as if you were walking right behind him), and Nemes uses the very same technique in "Sunset". Whereas it worked well in "Son of Saul", it does not in "Sunset", in fact, it works against the movie. Newcomer Juli Jakab plays the Irisz character, and frankly she looks utterly lost at times. Last but certainly not least, with a running time of about 2 1/2 hrs., the movie is far too long for its own good. A tighter edit could've cut at least 30 min. without losing any of the needed narrative. A darn shame.

"Sunset" premiered at last Fall's Venice film festival, and it finally opened this weekend at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati. The Friday early evening screening where I saw this at was attended so-so (about 10 people). I knew going in that the movie had not collected anywhere near the buzz of "Son of Saul", yet still I had high hopes. Alas, it was not to be, and in fact I can't help but feel that "Sunset" is a major disappointment. Of course I encourage you to check it out, be it in the theater (not very likely), on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
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A spectacular cinematic and dramatic film
bradman81-732-95789028 April 2019
Sunset is, on all levels a film so rich that it needs and deserves to be watched many times.

Finally we have a film maker who not only takes risks with audiences expecting a standard narrative and cinematic experience, but more critical, he and entire cat and crew succeed to create a moving and compelling experience.

Hard to believe we have both innovation and a film that will reward all viewers who are able to set aside their normal expectations.

I was really touched by this for and also excited to come upon amazing film experience.

Intended or not. I found much of Bela Tarr and Miklos Jancso.

Thank you Kaszlo Nemes!!!!
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Ominous, war-predicting dangerous liaisons
jgcorrea7 May 2019
Sunset is a very strange movie. Very dicey, as moviegoers would put it (quite mildly) in their jargon. "Decipher me or I'll devour you!" seems to be one of the surreptitious, sphinx-like latent messages that fit into the so-called "Septième Art scene". Sunset's authors are certainly in search of expression. My first question is : what percentage of computer-generated imagery was actually used in here? Second question: what was the ratio of mixed back-projection used? Third : what's the incidence of cast-direction improvisation as passers-by move themselves into the field and then out of the scenery ? Fourth doubt: do such aesthetics follow on purpose the example of Elephant director Gus Van Sant? Or, was it by mere coincidence that the Metteur-en-scène abusively devised plongées, blurs, impressionistic touches, and low-key illumination? Not even Godard used to notoriously film his actors on their backs. Included premises are (i) a pastel technique of Impressionist paintings and (ii) a cubist plot that blends details, but never focuses on main things or motives. This film arrests the viewer visually - by its imagery intricacy, not by its sheer creativity, though. Dramatically speaking, the viewer understands nothing of what inherently "happens". Either the former deciphers the latter, or else is devoured by boredom. One can hardly solve these anecdotal puzzle pieces according to the logic of narrative discourse. It's ultimately impossible to trace the relation between any particular sequence and the previous one, or the following one for that matter. The succession of scenes is ultra-rough and meaningless, not pleasant, to say the least. Costumes are exemplary and interiors do allow a sense of being in Budapest in 1913. By suggestion, however, never by scenic precision. Ultimate clues, here, are as follows : Sissi was ill-intentioned & no-good, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was criminally oppressive, WWI was inevitably brought in and on by thieves, arsonists & rebel nihilists in order to fix such an intolerably unbearable world. The overall rhythm of this movie is nevertheless very heavy. Its narrative, shall we call it cube-futurist? Its final scene is a kind of homage deus-ex-machina quoting Kubrick's famous traveling in the trenches of 'Paths of Glory.' The Hungarian director, however, reversed the direction of the traveling: Kubrick moved his camera backwards, Laszlo Nemes guided it forwardly. I know that João Pereira Coutinho liked the film and praised it in the Folha de São Paulo newspaper, but unfortunately, because I'm no longer a subscriber of the paper, I could not read the full critique by that brilliant intellectual - whose artistic taste, BTW is often very similar to mine.
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mroberto7514 April 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Same camera work like in Son of Saul, they think it's enough to copy the concept. Terrible acting, boring, confused script.
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Extremely tedious
cesminigar22 May 2019
Couldn't get myself to watch the second half. Dialogues were dull, plot was not interesting, couldn't relate to any character or felt for any of them.
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Echoes of Eyes Wide Shut?
stranamore13 May 2019
Did anyone picked up echoes of Eyes Wide Shut in this ceremony where a young woman is chosen only to disappear - to be sacrificed?
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A magnificent film experience
bradman81-732-95789029 April 2019
That Avengers Endgame scored 30 points higher on Rotten Tomatoes is not a comment on either film, but rather a statement that attests to the sad, pathetic state of film reviewing.

There's no point comparing a fun evening at the theater and a truly moving film experience, both certainly valid options as a way to spend two or three hours at the theater, so we must find way to review films that are different animals on on different scales. many will see Avengers many times, but if you want to see a moving, profound film - conception, acting, writing, Cinema, compelling narrative, and Most original, exciting. Innovative film making them try to see Sunset on the big screen while you can.
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