Friday 18 June 2021

Binding Sentiments [1969]

 In her magnificent second feature Binding Sentiments, Mészáros eloquently and evocatively expanded upon some of the themes she’d espoused in The Girl, and in the process emphatically established her singular voice as a politically conscious artist and defiant feminist. She subtly raised pointed existential inquiries into women’s agency by critiquing entrenched patriarchy around the social constructs of marriage, class and personal freedom. Edit (Mari Töröcsik) is a wealthy, attractive and emotionally reserved woman whose husband – a well-known economist who subsumed himself into the Party hierarchy – has just died. In a scenario like this, she’s expected to be grief-stricken and even hysterical for having lost a long-time husband and a man of high social stature. However, contrarily, she not only isn’t bogged down by despair, she even starts experiencing a rare sense of liberation because she’d been stuck in a loveless marriage – which she didn’t have the courage to escape from – to a self-centered man who she’d become indifferent to. And hence, now that she’s single again, she wishes to quit her bourgeois life, move out of her luxurious residence to somewhere smaller, and therefore finally start living. Her conservative son (Lajos Balázsovits), however, is obsessed with his dead father’s image, unwilling to accept his mother’s choice, and hence manipulates his girlfriend (Kati Kovács) – who’s looking for love and social acceptance – into forcing Edit into resigning to the status quo. The film’s tonal nuances, melancholy, thematic undercurrents and simmering edginess aside, it was striking in its restrained stylistic virtuosity – the gorgeous B/W photography, marvelously orchestrated slow tracking shots, lively jazz infusions alternating silent stretches, etc. And these were propelled by Töröcsik’s terrific turn and complementary characterizations of the two women.






Director: Marta Meszaros

Genre: Drama/Existential Drama/Family Drama

Language: Hungarian

Country: Hungary

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