In 1849, the liberation war against the Habsburg Empire is close to its end in Hungary. Having hidden from military draft, Barnabás leaves his hometown and walks across the country to find ...
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In 1849, the liberation war against the Habsburg Empire is close to its end in Hungary. Having hidden from military draft, Barnabás leaves his hometown and walks across the country to find and save his wounded brother who has been hiding with a guerilla group deep in the forest. Despite their exhaustion, lack of food or information, they are still fighting for their cause. Barnabás finds his brother alienated and distrustful. The tension between the boys further increases when they turn out to be attracted to the same nurse in the camp. Hoping he can earn his brother's trust and take him home, Barnabás decides to stay and lie about his past. In the meantime, he has to face the cruelty of war.Written by
The film is set in Northeastern Hungary, late August, 1849. Hungarian Chief of Staff Artúr Görgei surrendered to the Russian army, thus the war for independence from the Austrian Empire is over. But news spread slowly in the 19th century. Barnabás, a young, soon-to-be priest travels across the war-torn country in search of his brother's batallion, in hope that he could persuade him to return to their family before the Austrians or the Russians capture them.
He eventually finds a small group of surviving members of this company, hiding in the forests, unaware of the capitulation, but the brother is badly injured. Barnabás liest to the freedom fighters about his history during the war, and gets into a romantic relationship with a nurse, his brother's also attracted to.
The story is not extraordinary or anything, but serves its purpose, namely establishing a historical period never before seen on screens. It's truly all about authenticity, and the re-creation of a forgotten chapter in our history. The props, the costumes, the sets are all amazing, they all feel real. The acting is phenomenal, on a level I rarely see in Hungarian films. No theatre voices, no pretty faces. Everyone looks and talks like an actual human being from an other century.
It's raw, it's naturalistic, there are no great ideals or heart-lifting moments here. A slow-paced, athmospheric journey to the past and maybe to the depth of a soul. I can't recommend it to everyone, most people will find it boring, uninteresting or underwhelming, but for me it's easily one of best Hungarian period piece of all times.
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