czech, slovak, and german film
It's been a long year. I watched this film earlier this year, and now I'm seeing it with the beautiful restoration done by the Slovak Film Institute. The interwar period is seen as frivolity, and war veterans roam the land as beggars. Released in a time of tension, Havetta's characters show forlorn spirits and the disillusionment of conformity in the land of hay and sunshine.
The earliest of Mészáros Márta's greatest successes is this sensitive feature, a snapshot of a middle-aged woman's desire to become a mother, and the kind of friend she is to a rebellious teenager. And I think a lot of that is thanks to Berek Katalin, whose visage hides a myriad emotions. Her sternness deeply contrasts when she's heartbroken, and I can feel a lot through a protagonist like her. Easily my favorite scene is when the two men attempt to ask Anna and Kata to dance.
A film that at nearly three hours requires a mental fortitude similar to the one needed for Pasolini's Salo.
Marhoul spoke at length at the end of the film, lamenting that press in Venice reported flocks of people leaving the theater because of the violence. (Only four people had left, he explains). And the violence, Marhoul reassures, is only perceived. No humans harmed. No animals harmed. With this darkness he wants the audience to look towards real darkness in the…