(Szabad Lélegzet)(director/writer: Márta Mészáros; cinematographer: Lajos Koltai; editor: Zoltán Farkas; music: Levente Szörényi; cast: Erzsébet Kutvölgvi (Katra), Gábor Nagy (Molnár András), Marianna Moór (Zsuzsi), József Székhelyi (Laci), Melinda Máriáss (Erzsi); Runtime: 84; MPAA Rating: NR; Mokep; 1973-Hungary-in Hungarian with English subtitles)

“Perceptive romantic drama about star-crossed lovers.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

In Márta Mészáros’s (“Adoption”) perceptive romantic drama about star-crossed lovers, the brilliant female director reflects on the country’s older generation with displeasure. The film is set in the 1970s, and is a bitter indictment of Hungarian society and its cold feelings. The direction stays locked in the ‘social realism’ format to both its benefit and detriment, as the dramatic situation verges on cliché.

Márta is married to renown Hungarian film director Miklós Jancsó.

Katra (Kutvölgvi) is an attractive young woman who works in a factory and has just busted up with her abusive boyfriend. She attends with her girlfriends a local college dance and meets a young college student Molnár (Nagy) from a solid middle-class family, and they soon become romantically involved. She lies telling him she is also a college student, as she feels inferior and knows his bourgeois parents wouldn’t accept her. It’s learned that she was raised in a state run orphanage after her parents’ bitter divorce, and had learned at an early age to fend for herself in life. To carry out her lie, she talks her father into bringing his new wife with him and pretend to her boyfriend’s folks that they are a well-to-do family and she is a university student. It doesn’t work — her lie is detected by the boy’s snippy mother, who tells the girl she is vulgar and won’t be happy in marrying her son. Heartbroken, she breaks down and cries as the film concludes with her taking a shower, ridding herself of the factory grime.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”