Three generations of Hungarian Jews with a furniture shop in Budapest: at the center is the love affair of Imre and Gerda. Imre is the elder son of the family patriarch, a veteran of the ...
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Three generations of Hungarian Jews with a furniture shop in Budapest: at the center is the love affair of Imre and Gerda. Imre is the elder son of the family patriarch, a veteran of the Great War. Imre greets Gerda when she arrives from Germany to teach; he shepherds her through a sham marriage and divorce so that she, an Aryan, can marry him. He becomes a Christian and has their son Kisfiu, the story's narrator, baptized. We follow family fortune from brief Bolshevik rule in 1919 through the rise of the Nazis, Imre's life in a camp, hiding during World War II, the fate of Gerda and Imre's brothers, the ascendancy of the Communists, revolt, and Kisfiu's growing up.Written by
Unfortunately, this film is neither a "jewish" film or a film about Jews. If this is indeed autobiographical, then the filmmaker, whose parents he is attempting to portray, displays a disturbing ignorance either about Hungarian Jews, the historical period through which they passed, and/or the history of Hungarian Jews themselves. One is left with the suspicion that his parents "saved" themselves by disavowing any connection with their Jewishness and marrying, via the church, even though he was a Jew and she an aryan from the third Reich. Nazi's, extermination, the brutality of the red regime, all of that, is tossed aside. What we do see, instead, is a portrait of a rather conventional and dislikeable ghetto Jew (the grandfather) accompanied by the filmmaker's version of "jewish" music, not unlike the kind of faux Chinese music that used to accompany Charlie Chan. The highly stylized central European poetic style merely served to disguise or obscure the actual facts were concerning his family's development. Yes, the photography was lush; but the script itself was ludicrous.
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