The Great Generation

  • 1986
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

A unique film that manages to be both insightful and entertaining, THE GREAT GENERATION centers on Cserhalmi, returning to Hungary from America after an 18-year absence. With him is his teenage daughter, Ventilla, by ex-wife Kiss. Kiss fled to the US with Cserhalmi but quickly returned home after finding life in the new country too taxing. The first thing...read more

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A unique film that manages to be both insightful and entertaining, THE GREAT GENERATION centers on Cserhalmi, returning to Hungary from America after an 18-year absence. With him is his teenage daughter, Ventilla, by ex-wife Kiss. Kiss fled to the US with Cserhalmi but quickly returned

home after finding life in the new country too taxing. The first thing Cserhalmi does is establish contact with his best friend, Eperjes, now a popular disc jockey. Eighteen years earlier Eperjes and Cserhalmi, along with Koltai, agreed to leave their native soil to find wealth in America. Eperjes

was the only one of the trio who had a passport. Cserhalmi stole the passport, pasted his own picture on it, and then flew off to America. He has now returned, not so much to see old friends as to make some quick cash. His scheme is to secure the rights to a valuable agricultural invention

developed by a peasant, who happens to be an acquaintance of Eperjes' father. He also wants to get Kiss, now living with Koltai, to take custody of their daughter. Cserhalmi, Eperjes, and Eperjes' father travel across the countryside in search of the elusive peasant inventor, an eccentric genius

who has taken to the bottle. Going from jails to detoxification centers, the three are unable to find their man. When visiting Eperjes' son in a mental hospital, however--where he is trying to escape induction into the army--Eperjes' father notices the inventor. He refrains from telling Cserhalmi,

feeling it best to leave the old man in peace. Kiss agrees to take care of Ventilla; but fearful of remaining with a woman she barely knows, the girl runs to catch her father just before he boards his plane to America. Seeing Cserhalmi off, Eperjes and the others have mixed emotions. They are glad

to see him go because he has caused such havoc with his wild schemes, yet they also know they will probably never again see this man who so enlivened them even as he took advantage of them.

Winner of the Best Screenplay Award at the Chicago Film Festival and a Special Jury Prize at San Sebastian, THE GREAT GENERATION handles a number of serious subjects with a sense of humor and humanity. All the characters are multidimensional and believable. Although Cserhalmi may be one of the

most opportunistic people alive, he has qualities that make his friends love him. The people in this film are continuously fighting, loving, breaking up, making up, hating--and, ultimately, cherishing one another. Their actions and stories are told in an unpretentious, nonjudgmental manner. If THE

GREAT GENERATION has any message to convey, it is praise for those who have remained in Hungary while others have left in search of riches. Cserhalmi is a drifter; his friends have created successful careers and have stable family lives. (In Hungarian; English subtitles.)

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  • Released: 1986
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: A unique film that manages to be both insightful and entertaining, THE GREAT GENERATION centers on Cserhalmi, returning to Hungary from America after an 18-year absence. With him is his teenage daughter, Ventilla, by ex-wife Kiss. Kiss fled to the US with… (more)

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