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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