23 September 2006 | karhukissa
Lately you see a lot of films from Eastern Europe criticizing the politics and society of the 1950s. However, in 1969, when this film was made, this topic was still more or less taboo. Although by that time there were films making fun of the excesses of the 1950s (The witness), this film is much braver, facing the audience with a problem that was not solved until the late 80s: the way the state oppressed the original culture of the Roma people. The scene in the Roma camp is truly moving, and perhaps the first breach of the taboo that existed in Hungarian film and culture for decades. The Roma were treated as a social problem and not as a people with their authentic culture; their culture was considered equal to the "culture of poverty". This way they were deprived of their human dignity the same way the inhabitants of the small town, whose railway station the long-awaited Friendship Train was not supposed to stop at. The latter had the courage to stop the train, and paid the price. The Roma have no means to resist, nor does the photographer, whose only option is to document the scene. Although it has all the typical faults of the films of its age, this is just what Sara's film does.