Appetite for liberty, love and Hungary


Liberty, Love! Hungarian Culture in Focus is part of the Hungarian season in China 2007-2008. The Hungarian embassy in Beijing serves up a selection of mostly recent Hungarian films that have made waves on the international festival circuit.

Hungarian cinema has often been forced to tread a precarious and difficult path. Through the failed 1919 revolution to the defeat of the 1956 Uprising and its aftermath, Hungarian filmmakers and their audiences have had to contend with a multiplicity of problems. In the 1960s, Hungary entered into a period of relative stability and increasing cultural relaxation, resulting in an astonishing growth of filmmaking.

Fresh Air
Viola is still a beautiful woman. Angela is ashamed of her mother. Communication between them has become almost impossible. They are together only to watch their favorite television series, and they never miss an episode. Probably, in secret, they are both in love with the protagonist. Viola works where no one else wants to. She is looking for a real man whom she could love. Angela aspires to design fashion. She desires something different. 2006 Cannes' Critics' award.

Paths of Light
This film has two stories running in parallel. One is about a successful model, while the other one is about a goldsmith. Paths of Light shows their decline to hell. The two stories develop in similar ways and interact with each other. It takes a long time for both protagonists to accept their fate. Once they have found peace, the two storylines converge: The goldsmith, who has lost his sight, and the model, who has lost her beauty, meet at the end of the film.

Just Sex and Nothing Else
What is an attractive, 30-year-old woman to do if she is fed up with dating but desperate to have a child? This dilemma is certainly shared by many single women of Dora's generation in big cities all over the world. Dora, a literary consultant at a Budapest theater, has had it with men after she finds out that her fianc is married. Listening to her biological clock, Dora decides to get pregnant through a no-strings-attached affair. She tries Internet dating, and there is no shortage of candidates in her immediate environment, either.

Using almost no dialogue, the film follows a number of residents, both human and animal, of a small rural community in Hungary. An old man with hiccups, a shepherdess and her sheep, an old woman who may or may not be up to no good, some folk-singers at a wedding, etc. While most of the film is a series of vignettes, there is a sinister and often barely perceptible subplot involving murder. European Discovery of the Year at the 2002 European Film Awards and winner of multiple awards at other festivals.

It is the second Hungarian movie in the Guy Ritchie-style. Director Zsombor Dyga's first movie Tes was also a remarkable sociological comedy. The story is about a briefcase that is accidentally lost. Every character in the film wants to find the briefcase, some for the money, some to save their lives, and some for other reasons. The movie itself is funny without any cursing or violent scenes. (chinadaily - timetable & original article)

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