Friday, 12 July 2013
Confidence (Bizalom) 
Mephisto might be Istvan Szabo’s most internationally reckoned work, but Confidence was the Hungarian filmmaker’s personal favourite. The alternately gripping and affecting psychological drama was a telling narrative on the kind of tragic arcs wartime scenarios set individuals on, thus making the romantic angle in its storyline deeply poignant. Set in Nazi-occupied Budapest, the film begins with the world that the simple-natured Katalin (Ildiko Bansagi) has known crashing down around her. When about to enter her house she is stopped and informed that her husband, who she’s told is a member of the Resistance, has gone underground, and that she must lead a false life in order to escape being caught. Thus, with a fabricated identity, she begins, on a deeply tentative and uncertain note, a fake married life with János (Peter Andorai), who too belongs to the Resistance. While the emotionally vulnerable Katalin is on the verge of a breakdown at any time, the hard-bitten and cynical János is wary and suspicious of everyone around him in order to stay alive. Yet, because of this strange circumstance, and on account of the hopelessness and fear surrounding them, the two slowly start falling in love as they only have each other to cling to. The film let loose on the melodrama on a few occasions, and the theatrical device of soliloquies seemed tad intrusive at times; however, for all its flaws, it succeeded in painting a gut-wrenching picture of love in times of war, with the beautifully done finale providing the icing. Both the actors managed to lay bare the insides of their characters, and the muted, washed-out photography made it visually beautiful too.
Director: Istvan Szabo
Genre: Drama/Psychological Drama/Political Drama/Romance