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The film follows a Jewish family living in Hungary through three generations, rising from humble beginnings to positions of wealth and power in the crumbling Austro-Hungarian Empire. The patriarch becomes a prominent judge but is torn when his government sanctions anti-Jewish persecutions. His son converts to Christianity to advance his career as a champion fencer and Olympic hero, but is caught up in the Holocaust. Finally, the grandson, after surviving war, revolution, loss and betrayal, realizes that his ultimate allegiance must be to himself and his heritage. —<email@example.com>
Significant, powerful, and brilliantly/beautifully executed
One of the best films I've seen in many years. Long by current standards, but my interest/involvement never lagged for a moment. It works on many levels, all of which examine and ultimately show the futility of assimilation, given how unstable and unreliable is any governmental structure with which one attempts to identify. Effort to assimilate across generations in Hungary becomes increasingly demanding as the lived world becomes ever more dehumanizing and brutal. Fiennes has never been better in cross-generational roles, and others excellent as well. But a woman is the censor and conscience across time.
- Aug 27, 2000
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