- 1h 36m
Vera Angi works as a nurse in a hospital after WWII in communist Hungary. Because she speaks up about the terrible conditions in which the nurses and doctors have to work, she's placed in a ... Read allVera Angi works as a nurse in a hospital after WWII in communist Hungary. Because she speaks up about the terrible conditions in which the nurses and doctors have to work, she's placed in a six-month education course.Vera Angi works as a nurse in a hospital after WWII in communist Hungary. Because she speaks up about the terrible conditions in which the nurses and doctors have to work, she's placed in a six-month education course.
The first thing which needs to be explained before discussing the film is its title. Angi Vera is the name of an 18 year-old girl who is the lead character. In Hungary, as in China, the surname comes first, so the girl's first name is Vera and her surname is Angi. The performance of the young actress Vera Pap (Pap Vera in Hungary) is nothing short of miraculous. She speaks little, and she has some of the most expressive eyes of any actress, but she conveys everything just by being there in front of the camera. It is pure magic. It is a tragedy that this actress, who was 22 when she filmed this, died at the age of only 59. And the utterly brilliant director of this film, Pal Gabor (Gabor Pal in Hungary) died only 8 years after making this film, aged only 54. I have previously praised the amazing acting of Eva Szabo, who plays Maria Muskat (seen at the end on a bicycle). See my reviews of her performances in the three amazingly powerful autobiographical films by director Marta Meszaros in which she appears: DIARY FOR MY CHILDREN (1984), DIARY FOR MY LOVERS, which should really be translated DIARY FOR MY LOVES(1987), and NAPLO APAMNAK, ANYAMAK (DIARY FOR MY FATHER AND MOTHER; 1990). All of these films are works of the greatest genius, and Eva Szabo adds greatly to their power and effect. ANGI VERA certainly ranks with them as a triumph of cinematic art. I wish more films by these talented Hungarian directors were available with English subtitles. But in fact Hungarian cinema is barely known outside of Hungary, despite having been productive of some world-class cinematic masterpieces such as this one and the other three just mentioned. Other especially good performances in this film are by Erzsi Pasztor as Anna Trajan and Tamas Dunai as the teacher Istvan Andre Istvan, who falls in love with Angi Vera. The suffocating hothouse atmosphere of the three-month political re-education school, and the agonizing self-criticism sessions, are so real, you feel as you watch that you will be called upon next to criticise yourself and betray others. This story seems to be set in the early 1950s, since there is still so much talk about the characters' wartime exploits during the Nazi occupation, and mention of the years many of the characters have spent in prison. There is no mention at all of any national leaders or of any wider contemporary events. This film is restricted to an intensely harrowing portrayal of only what is happening just to this group of people during the three month period. It is as if there is no outside world, and that is what it must have felt like to all who went through these ordeals. The film is certainly one of the most realistic films I have ever seen. It is so powerful, it is like a Force of Nature. Watch it and be blown away.
- Feb 11, 2017
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