Tuesday 3 September 2013

Diary for My Lovers [1987]

Diary for My Lovers was the second chapter in Márta Mészáros’ semi-autobiographical ‘Diary Series’. Unlike Diary for My Children, this was not as emotionally wrenching, and instead had a broader socio-political scope; this might have been a conscious move to depict the coming of age, in terms of maturity, for Juli (Zsusza Czinkóczi), the director’s stand-in. When János (Jan Nowicki), the only person she’s close to, because of his resemblance to the image of her exiled father, got arrested, it marked a clear transition in her life. The film begins with her having moved out of the home of her foster mother Magda (Anna Polony), who has meanwhile grown in the Party hierarchy, and employed in a textile factory. Magda, using her considerable influence, first brings her back, and then sends her to Moscow to study economics. She, however, gets enroled in the filmmaking course instead. There, as her political consciousness and her desire to unbury her past keep increasing, she befriends Anna Pavlova, a famous and influential actress, and Natasha (Adél Kováts), a stunningly beautiful wannabe actress, and during a trip to Budapest, arm-twists Magda to meet Janos’ son who has been driven out of the society. The film was heavily interspersed with documentary footages, and the print regularly moved from colour to grainy B/W and back, thus marvelously blending the story’s historical aspects with the fictionalized present. Stalin, through his images and references, had an imposing presence, and his sudden death marked a key moment in the narrative. The evocatively scored movie ended with the beginning of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, and Juli, despite her pleas, stuck in a state of stasis in Moscow, as excellently represented by the parting freeze frame.

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

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