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.