Somewhere in Europe: A History of Hungarian Cinema

This retrospective of Hungarian cinema, produced by Facets Multimedia Center, Magyar Filmunio, the Magyar Filminterzet, and the Hungarian Film Laboratories, continues Friday through Thursday, July 31 through August 6. Screenings will be at Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton. All screenings are in 35-millimeter. Tickets are $7, $5 for Facets members. For more information call 773-281-4114.


The Falcons

Istvan Gaal’s 1969 feature about a young student who goes to work at a remote falconry station won the jury prize at Cannes the following year; some have described it as an attack on totalitarian thinking. (7:00)


Pal Zolnay’s 1972 feature about two photographers traveling the back roads

of Hungary. (8:45)


The Goldberg Variations

Parents try to understand why their 13-year-old son committed suicide in this 1991 feature by Ferenc Grunwalsky. (6:30)

The Whitman Boys

I didn’t get to the end of this morbid tale when I went to a festival screening, but I can’t say that what I saw was badly done. Based on a story by Geza Csath, the 1997 film focuses on two young brothers in 1914 who lose their father and become obsessed with death; shortly before I split, they began their research by murdering a cat. Janos Szasz directed. (JR) (8:30)


When Joseph Returns

Zsolt Kezdi-Kovacs’s 1975 feature introduced actress Lili Monori as a young wife living alone in Budapest after her husband, a merchant seaman, sails off. (2:00)

Film Novel–Three Sisters

In 1977 Istvan Darday and Gyorgyi Szalai (the couple who went on to make the remarkable and comparably lengthy Documentator in 1989) codirected this 270-minute experimental feature with nonprofessional actors and no script. (JR) (4:00)



An early film (1966) by director Istvan Szabo (Confidence, Mephisto). When his father is killed at the end of the war, a boy invents a heroic fantasy of him as a dashing resistance fighter, but upon reaching adulthood, he resolves to face the truth and find out who his father really was. (7:00)

Time Stands Still

This second feature by filmmaker Peter Gothar is a little overfull in the way second features often are: the setting is Budapest during the first wave of post-Stalinist liberalization in the early 60s, and the idea is to link an adolescent’s ambiguous progress toward sexual and moral maturity with the political transformations taking place in his country. But Gothar’s talent for creating smoky, menacing atmospheres and darkly enigmatic dramatic situations tends to obscure his concept–the result is a film that is, in some ways, too good for its own good, haunting, original, and impressive, but not really satisfying. The same might be said of Lajos Koltai’s eerily backlit cinematography. (DK) (9:00)


Family Nest

Bela Tarr’s first feature (1977) and in every respect his rawest–a blunt piece of social realism about a young couple forced to live with the husband’s parents in a one-room apartment. This is strong stuff, but the highly formal director of Almanac of Fall, Damnation, and Satantango is still far from apparent. (JR) (7:00)


Not the Berg opera but a 1995 adaptation of the original Georg BŸchner play, suitably grim and set around a moldering railroad yard. I can’t recall it very well, though I preferred it to Werner Herzog’s previous version. Janos Szasz directed, and Lajos Kovacs plays the eponymous hero. (JR) (9:00)



Zoltan Huszarik’s 1971 feature, based on tales by Gula Krudy, centers on a dying connoisseur of good living and his sensual memories. (7:00)

Light Physical Injuries

Gyorgy Szomjas’s feature is a bleak, depressed Eastern-bloc variation on a Noel Coward theme: released after two years in prison, a down-trodden young man returns home to find his wife living with another man. Though they agree to a divorce, the husband refuses to leave the apartment and mounts a strident campaign to win back his wife’s affections. Szomjas throws in a number of modernist touches, but when the film works it’s thanks to the shaggy, improvisational work of the actors.

(DK) (9:00)


Red Psalm

See Critic’s Choice. (7:00)


Peter Gothar’s 1996 feature–performed in Russian by Russian actors, and based on a piece of Russian folklore–focuses on a good-hearted thief in Saint Petersburg. With Maksim Segeyev and Yevgeny Sigyihin. (8:45)