Thursday 5 September 2013

Diary for My Father and Mother [1990]

Diary for My Father & Mother was, from a chronological standpoint, the concluding chapter of Márta Mészáros’ autobiographical, deeply felt, highly political and tragically underrated ‘Diary Series’, as Little Vilma was a prequel. It was the weakest of the first 3 chapters, though that that only says that the 2 preceding it were masterworks. Beginning exactly where Diary for My Lovers left off – with Juli (Zsusza Czinkóczi), now a young woman with matured ideological perspectives and a newbie maker of documentaries with strong socio-political commentaries, stuck in Moscow, though desperate to go home, when she’s apprised of sudden outbreak of turbulence in her country. Unlike the first 2 chapters, this had narraower and far more well-defined temporal boundaries as it was based during and around the 1956 Hungarian Uprising – a spontaneous people’s revolution against Soviet domination that, though nipped soon enough, proved to be a watershed moment for the country in the long run. In the brief respite that followed Stalin’s sudden demise a number of political prisoners, including János (Jan Nowicki), got released, and he plays his part in the revolution by leading factory strikes. Magda (Anna Polony), on the other hand, faces a psychologically crushing change of fate. The soft-spoken but free-thinking Juli, meanwhile, observes the changes around her with her camera. The film’s documentary realism and tense tone gave it a gripping feel – the toppling of a huge Stalin statue was particularly memorable in this context. But its most indelible constituent was the elaborate and farcical New Year’s Eve party where friends and foes, dressed in ludicrous costumes, dance away in abandon, oblivious to the devastation awaiting some of them.

Director: Marta Meszaros
Genre: Drama/Political Drama/Film a Clef
Language: Hungarian
Country: Hungary

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