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ALEX FARBA


 

Alex Farba Deleon is a filmfestivals.com ambassador

MY FILM FESTIVAL REVIEWS


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Moszkva Tér 2001 ~ Hungarian rebels without a cause

Highlights of Films seen at Festival of Restored Classics, Budapest  by Alex Deleon

 

Moszkva Tér 2001 ~ Hungarian rebels without a cause

Moszkva Tér, (Moscow Square) is the busiest transportation hub on the Buda side of the Danube. Since the fall of Communism it has been renamed Széll Kálmán tér but the Communist era name by which it is still referred to by many people is a kind of latent symbol of the forty years of Coldwar Communist oppression and Russian military occupation. This was the Film School graduation work and feature film debut of then 28 year old director Ferenc Török and turned out to be a landmark film of the new generation at the turn of the Millennium in Hungary. This film employing mainly young unknown actors and shot largely in the streets around Moszkva tér on a shoestring budget was so full of energy with such realistic dialogues and situations that it was practically a documentary of its time and won the Best Debut Film award at the 2001 Hungarian Film Week. 

 

While shot in 2000 the story is set a decade earlier in 1989, the year that communism fell, which was a monumentous event in late XX. Century Hungarian history. The brash young guys who are about to graduate and populate the film as if they were actually living it put the viewer in the mind of Rebels without a Cause. 

Even if 1989 is an important turning-point year in the political history of Hungary, Petya and his pals couldn't care less. All that matters to them are the parties, girls, running around in fast cars, making some easy cash, and of course, passing the upcoming graduation exam with secretly leaked answers to the key questions. Once the graduation is out of the way  some of them will travel to formerly forbidden western countries, (Vienna) on forged train  tickers and the central couple,  handsome Petya and gorgeous Zsofi (Gabor Karalyos and  Eszter Balla) will make it all the way to Paris where they will pay no attention to the death of long  term Dictator Janós Kádár, seen in the background on French TV  as they hotly get it on in the foreground. 

While there is basically no plot, just a bunch of character studies strung together against a portrait of a typical Hungarian high school, which people who were there at the time testify as being 100% accurate and true to life, this  cinematic time capsule announced the arrival of major new directorial talent, Ferenc Török, who is now one of the leading Hungarian film filmmakers. Török's latest film, "1945" about Hungarian guilt in the aftermath of the Holocaust debuted ar Berlin in February and is now pulling in packed houses in New York. Amazing, however, how well his early work, Moszkva Tér, holds up today nearly two decades later.

A Q&A session after the Saturday night screening with director and actors present  lasted nearly an hour and kept most viewers glued to their seats.

Director Török (Right) with Moszkva Tér actors after the screening; L-R; Simon Szabó, Eszter Balla, and Bence Jávor.

gersbach.net