The Jury Grand Prix winner at this year’s Berlinale was another slice from the burgeoning Hungarian cinema. Although the action runs at a snails pace, it certainly packs a prolonged punch.
Inspired by recent events which saw several hate crimes and eight murders in the Hungarian Gypsy community, the film has an air of omniscience which is both captivating and uncomfortable in equal measure. Rather than spending time exploiting the murders and being gratuitously violent, Fliegauf builds suspense and horror from exploration of one marginalised family awaiting the inevitable and timely attack on their home. The result is surprisingly brutal, with three heartbreaking performances, particularly from eight year old Lajos Sarkany who is forced to hide in the shadows, trying to convince his mother, sister and himself that the foreboding noises outside the door are ‘just the wind’.
THE GOOD: First-time actors Sarkany, Toldi and Lendvai put in the three best performances of the festival. This is clearly testament to a very efficient director in Benedek Fliegauf.
THE BAD: Another difficult film that certainly won’t appease all fondant fancies. Perhaps a trifle too one dimensional.