11 November 2003 | Trenszmacher
Is this the real young, lower middle-class Hungarian scene?
It may well be. Especially if you compare the characters in this film, their actions and aspirations, with other film from the soon to be new "E.U." countries, and even with current European Union countries.
The novelty, of course, is that the film and its subject are Hungarian, not exactly the flavor nationality of the decade, unlike the Ukranians, Romanians, Poles, Czechs and former Yugoslavians, whose suffering and desperate situations are more common in art house or festival movies like this one.
It is definitely a rough film to watch. But if you've been to a few film festivals the last decade, and seen a couple of movies about the former "Eastern Europe", you won't freak out. The film makers obviously did try to up the "shock" ante a bit with this film, since few things, if any at all, surprise audiences anymore. And the sex and violence may be scandalous to the still fairly recently censor-free Hungarians.
But I wonder whether films such as this one are viewed in their own countries. How many people have seen or will see "Elephant" in the US, or saw "Czesc Teresa" in Poland? These films are mainly for export to festivals, and ultimately "artsy" cable TV film channels like Arte and Canal +. In any case, an interesting film with (pardon the cliché but it does really apply here) a "universal" theme.
Not too long, or too "foreign" - as the current lead comment reads. Whoever wrote this last comment anyway-"A good foreign film" - is implying anything not American is foreign. Little does she know that Americans (and I am an expatriated one) regard Canadians as foreign, and American films are by definition "foreign" in Canada.
So, what does this contradictory, though strangely NOT really unusual naive comment mean? Well, it confirms what I said. This is a good film which even some high school sophomore seeing one of her first "foreign" films in Toronto liked. This, in spite, as she added that it "even had subtitles."
Given the film's unusual origins and uncommon milieu, if it can please a "normal North American" viewer, with little or no "foreign film" exposure, and it also pleases more discerning audiences with greater understanding of the film's milieu and social conditions, then it is probably a film worth seeing.