Saturday, 5 October 2013

Lovefilm [1970]

The early Szabo Lovefilm, made four years after his masterful Father, was a film delicately filled with youthful love and exuberance on one side, and melancholia and nostalgia on the other. It was a story about separation from one’s homeland and close-ones due to political upheavals and tumult – in this case the iron-fisted Soviet invasion to crush the 1956 Hungarian Uprising. But more than anything, this was a poignant and freewheeling portrayal of memory and its juxtaposition with reality – two things that can hardly ever be reconciled. Jansci (Andras Balint) is a young man seemingly in a happy relationship, but his mind keeps jumping back to his days as a boy and his friendship with a neighborhood girl which, unbeknownst to both, slowly blossomed into love. The events of 1956, however, compelled her to leave the country, and so now, 10 years later, he boards a train for Paris in order to meet his childhood sweetheart Kata (Judit Halasz). Though they have a blissful few days together, they eventually realize that they aren’t the carefree kids anymore, and that both have changed in more ways than once over the years. Szabo used a breezily kaleidoscopic structure, particularly during Jansci’s train journey where brilliantly designed montages were used to weave together his memories, including some that aren’t wholly reliable, of his days as a kid in Budapest. Though, in essence, a deftly construed love story, the film had its fair share of socio-political observations, which added layers to it. Accordingly to Szabo himself, he was heavily influenced by Resnais’ Last Year at Marienbad and Je T’Aime Je T’Aime, and the effects were discernible.

Director: Istvan Szabo
Genre: Drama/Romantic Drama
Language: Hungarian
Country: Hungary


Sam Juliano said...

I am less enamored of this particular film Shubhajit (I do love FATHER of course)as it left me cold, but your analysis of it's themes or focus are dead-on.

Shubhajit said...

Thanks Sam. Yes, it wasn't as affecting as Father. Do watch his Budapest Tales in case you haven't. Meanwhile I need to watch Mephisto.