A Hungarian Fairy Tale

  • 1989
  • 1 HR 37 MIN
  • NR
  • Fantasy, Political

To be political without seeming to be political has been the Eastern European filmmaker's primary task (at least prior to the recent wave of reform there). With this allegorical children's story for adults, director Gyula Gazdag again faces this challenge. A HUNGARIAN FAIRY TALE centers around a quest. While attending a performance of Mozart's The Magic...read more

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To be political without seeming to be political has been the Eastern European filmmaker's primary task (at least prior to the recent wave of reform there). With this allegorical children's story for adults, director Gyula Gazdag again faces this challenge. A HUNGARIAN FAIRY TALE centers

around a quest.

While attending a performance of Mozart's The Magic Flute (a fantasy analogue of what's to come), a young woman, (Maria Varga) is smitten by a handsome stranger, leading to sudden and fleeting romance. Andris (David Vermes), the child born of this quicksilver affair, is orphaned by his mother's

subsequent death, and spends most of the film searching for the father he has never known; meanwhile, Antal Orban (Frantisek Husak), the kindly bureaucrat who has seen that Andris at least has a name, searches for the boy. In the course of his travels Andris meets an assortment of characters, all

of whom have symbolic meaning.

Although state paternalism is Gazdag's enemy here, A HUNGARIAN FAIRY TALE is lighter in tone and more direct in its emotional appeal than most of the director's previous work (THE RESOLUTION, SINGING ON THE TREADMILL). A deft combination of old Hollywood texture and luminosity (Elemer Ragalyi's

black-and-white cinematography is superb), 60s New Wave freedom, and surreal fantasy atmospherics, the film may have already lost its topical bite, but the structure underlying it--the simple myth at the complex heart of things--is made to last.

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  • Released: 1989
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: To be political without seeming to be political has been the Eastern European filmmaker's primary task (at least prior to the recent wave of reform there). With this allegorical children's story for adults, director Gyula Gazdag again faces this challenge.… (more)

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