Hungary's postwar history told through the dreams, nightmares, and memories of the inhabitants of an old house on the eve of it's destruction.Hungary's postwar history told through the dreams, nightmares, and memories of the inhabitants of an old house on the eve of it's destruction.Hungary's postwar history told through the dreams, nightmares, and memories of the inhabitants of an old house on the eve of it's destruction.
And I can't blame them too much. People unfamiliar with watching movies with a high amount of visual symbolism and with a unique slant might just not know how to appreciate a film like this. Additionally, they may not have had the advantage that I had of being told in advance that nearly everything in the film is DREAM sequence (and most if not all of those dreams being memories of significant experiences in their lives especially as in relation to war, fascism and/or facing possible or even certain death) of the different characters that live in this building in Hungary which is under -- or about to be under -- demolition. This gives this viewer the feeling, "I am now seeing what these people were remembering, feeling and thinking just before they were going to die." Understanding this in advance perhaps made it much easier for me to appreciate this film without the unnecessary thoughts in my head like, "That's not realistic. It is supposed to be hot and he is not even sweating!" because in dreams things are not so realistic sometimes -- and even if they are, creative license can easily be allowed for this Hungarian Masterpiece.
This is a very interesting film with characters of varying ages and varying concerns, some very riveting actors, and it is with English subtitles (which I much preferred to dubbed). People with knowledge of Hungarian history will understand this film the best perhaps, but the montage of peeks into the thoughts and conversations -- all dreams, and memories within dreams -- give glimpses of history that many of us know, or should know, at least a little something about (such as life under Nazi rule -- or simply the interactions between people in varying situations, most of which are times that "test" one's humanity if you will.
I love the cinematography in this film. This is a feast to the eye visually in much of the film. But be prepared to witness some tragedy. And be prepared to think about things you may have never thought about before -- which is one of the things I love about foreign films. Good foreign films tend to broaden our minds, stimulate us, and also see the commonality of all peoples. While we see things that are, well, foreign, we also see that no matter what nationality, religion or creed, humanity has much more in common with one another than differences. It is truly what matters most that we have in common.
I checked the box for spoilers even though I am not giving away some key things about this movie. I checked it because perhaps for some people saying that these are all dream sequences would be considered a spoiler, not sure! I will say this, that this movie is not about the day that nothing happened. It is about the day that just about every character in this film, for all they know, will be dead tomorrow. They are, to say the least, feeling just a bit stressed.
In this day and age with info wars, conventional wars and threats of atomic-scope wars and globally powerful multinational corporations dictating to nations as if dictators, I think it is a good time to watch this film. What is that saying? Something like that those who don't learn their history well, and learn from that history, are doomed to repeat it, again and again. Mankind has repeated war for thousands of years. I hope it is on a learning curve by now.
Try it. You'll like it. ;)
- May 25, 2006