Forbidden Relations (1983)

ZSOLT KEZDI-KOVACS

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB

Original Title: Visszaesök

, 1983. , . Screenplay by Zsolt Kézdi-Kovács. Cinematography by . Production Design by . Costume Design by . Film Editing by .

Reportedly based on a true story, this erotic drama dares to treat a sexual taboo with a great deal of sympathy that is helped greatly by two strong lead performances.

Juli is happily married to her husband and living on their farm until the neighbours wake her up and inform her that he has, for no reason that anyone can discern, hanged himself in the barn. She returns home to her village to live with her parents, deciding to abort her pregnancy for fear that a future husband might not want to marry a woman who already has a child.

While returning home on the bus from an errand, Juli meets handsome Gyorgy, a new arrival who tells her that he has come to board with a neighbor of hers and work as a tailor. The sparks fly between them immediately and, showing him the way to his new home, Juli falls happily into bed with Gyorgy.

When she returns home she is informed by her mother that Gyorgy is actually her half-brother whom she has never met before, her mother had him with her first husband and sent him away at a young age, so it’s understandable that Juli didn’t recognize him, but once she faces Gyorgy with the news, they find that they still feel passionately towards each other and a full blown sexual affair continues.

When Juli finds out she’s pregnant, she can no longer keep the relationship quiet, destroying her mother, who is determined to put a stop to their madness, first enlisting a medical professional to step in before turning the law on their illegal union.

Jail sentences take their effect but the couple cannot be separated, in fact it is ironically to Gyorgy’s credit that after a lifetime of swindling others and running away from one responsibility after another, he stays devoted to this relationship and no amount of hardship can convince him to do otherwise.

Juli remains equally devoted, and it is much to director Zsolt Kézdi-Kovács’s credit that he presents their society’s reaction to this unholy marriage with as much sanguine common sense as he gives to the couple’s perspective, challenging us by casting two actors who have genuinely hot chemistry that we instinctively want to root for while knowing better than to side with them.

Cannes Film Festival: In Competition

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