Almanac of Fall (Öszi almanach) (1984)

BELA TARR Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.  Hungary, 1984.  Screenplay by Béla Tarr.  Cinematography by Buda Gulyás, Sándor Kardos, Ferenc Pap.  Music by Mihály Vig.  Production Design by Ágnes Hranitzky, Gyula Pauer.  Costume Design by Gyula Pauer.  Film Editing by Ágnes Hranitzky.   Bela Tarr takes us inside a magnificent but crumbling apartment and examines the intimate lives of the characters who…

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On Body And Soul (Teströl és lélekröl) (2017)

ILDIKO ENYEDI Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  Hungary, 2017.  Inforg-M&M Film Kft..  Screenplay by Ildikó Enyedi.  Cinematography by Máté Herbai.  Produced by Ernö Mesterházy, András Muhi, Mónika Mécs.  Music by Adam Balazs.  Production Design by Imola Láng.  Costume Design by Judit Sinkovics.  Film Editing by Károly Szalai.  Academy Awards 2017.  European Film Awards 2017.  Toronto International Film Festival 2017.   A richly photographed film with as many quirky…

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Lionheart (1987)

FRANKLIN J. SCHAFFNER Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5.  Hungary/USA, 1987.  Hungaro, Mafilm, TaliaFilm II Productions.  Story by Menno Meyjes, Screenplay by Menno Meyjes, Richard Outten.  Cinematography by Alec Mills.  Produced by Stanley O’Toole, Talia Shire.  Music by Jerry Goldsmith.  Production Design by Gil Parrondo.  Costume Design by Nanà Cecchi.  Film Editing by David Bretherton, Richard Haines. One of the least well known of the many medievalish-themed films…

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Damnation (Karhozat)

BBB (out of 5) Visionary filmmaker Bela Tarr applies his languid, seemingly formless style to a story of frustrated love.  Amid its beautifully shot monochrome ruminations is the tale of a fraught love affair between a man and a woman, his anger at not being happy in love periodically interrupted by a wise, angel-on-earth type who…

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Hanussen

BBBB (out of 5) Klaus Maria Brandauer is perfectly cast as a man who got all of Germanic Europe under his sway with his forceful personality and claims at clairvoyance.  Injured in battle during World War I, Klaus Schneider recovers and finds he has the ability to read thoughts, control others’ actions and predict the future….

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Son Of Saul (Saul Fia)

BBBBB (out of 5) Prisoners at Auschwitz were sometimes pulled out of the sea of doomed victims and made to work as Sonderkommando, forced to assist in the disposal of the belongings of the people who were murdered in mass showers and then, after the deed was done, to dispose of their bodies. Laszlo Nemes’ startling…

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The Turin Horse (A Torinoi Lo)

BBBB (out of 5) A film of dreamlike quality, rich with wondrous images that resonate long after its conclusion. The known anecdote with which it begins is that of Nietzsche embracing a horse he sees being beaten on the street, which we learn was followed by the great thinker going home and succumbing to his…

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Being Julia

BBB.5 (out of 5) Not since Cousin Bette has a woman’s revenge been this much fun. Annette Bening tears into the role of a famous London stage actress who is starting to lose the thrill of performing before a live audience night after night. Her vigor is restored when she meets a young American financier…

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El Greco

BBB (out of 5) The life of Domenicos Theotokopoulos, the sixteenth century painter better known as El Greco, is examined in this wholly respectful but often clunky biopic.  Nick Ashdon stars as the 16th century artist who began his career in Venetian-ruled Crete, went to Venice to study under Titian then later found himself hailed as…

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Catsplay (Cat’s Play) (Macskajatek)

BB (out of 5) Karoly Makk follows the film Love with a sequel of sorts, catching up with two sisters who spend the film reflecting on past lives and romances. Most of it is told in voice-over narration with images and scenes of youth interspersed, jarringly, in a manner that feels far too loose and…

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Time Stands Still (Megáll az idö)

BBB (out of 5) Two teenagers growing up in Hungary in the sixties have to deal with adolescent angst and burgeoning sexuality while being confronted with the frustrations of a society stuck in a time warp. The boys’ father left them after the Hungarian uprising in 1956, their mother raising them alone after refusing to…

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The Princess And The Goblin

BB (out of 5) In order to be properly adapted to the big screen, George Macdonald’s original source material, one of the most delightful books ever written for youngsters, could definitely use a bit of a plot boost in the last third (it wouldn’t play well enough for film as written). The rest of the…

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