Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Father A Film By Istvan Szabo|
Actors: Andras Balint, Miklós Gábor, Dániel Erdély, Kati Sólyom, Klári Tolnay
Director: István Szabó
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Fathers & Sons
Alex Udvary | chicago, il United States | 07/30/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"A boy needs his father, so the saying goes. I don't know how much truth there is to that statement, but it's what Istvan Szabo's film is all about.
Tako (played as a child by Daniel Erdely and as an adult by Andras Balint) has vague memories of his father who died after WW2. His entire life though consist of trying to assemble the pieces of his father's life. Like most boys growing up he would like to think his father was\is a hero. So sometimes he just flat out lies to his friends about all the wonderful stuff his father, who was a doctor, accomplished in his life.
These scenes are actually quite humorous. Though many people may think of Szabo (in America you would pronounce the name Sable, in Hungary it is pronounced as it is spelled, with a silent "z") as a serious filmmaker, he did direct many short comedy pieces in his early career. In fact, "Father (AKA Apa)" was his second film.
Tako's search for his father though leads to a somewhat identity crissis. In order to understand who he is, Tako feels he must understand his past and his father. This all becomes difficult for him when he meets a Jewish girl who's parents died during the Holocaust. She is the exact opposite of Tako. She knows all about her past, and if anything, wants to escape it. She's embarrassed to tell people about her origins. Tako on the other hand is ready to talk about his father and the past any chance he gets.
Szabo seems to have a great nostalgia for Hungary's past. The movie, in short, is about the past and learning to come to grips with where we come from and growing from that experience.
If you're not familiar with Szabo, and sadly most American audiences aren't. He has lead quite a life. First of all, he is the only Hungarian filmmaker to date to have won an Oscar. His 1981 film "Mephisto" won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film. That movie while at first may seem like his adaptation of the Faust story, is actually semi-autobiographical. After the Hungarian Revolution in 1956, he was blackmailed and forced to work with a Communist agency.
While Communist may not play a large part in a good number of his films, Szabo's films are usually about people hiding something. Look at his 2000 film "Sunshine" (I'm still mad the Academy overlooked it!) it was the story of a Hungarian Jewish family that tried to hide their Jewish blood, but society would not let them. Or what about his more recent American comedy, "Being Julia". Revenge and secrets was the name of the game in that movie. And of course in "Father" the young boy is hiding the fact he doesn't know his father or who he really is.
"Father" is a nice starter for those unfamiliar with Szabo's work. I've found it difficult to track down, but search for it. Most of his other films are also quite rare. Something needs to be done about that. *** 1\2 out of *****
Bottom-line: Affectionate tale of a young boy finding himself through his memories of his father. Szabo's second feature is the work of a born filmmaker. He displays a wonderful visual eye. The performances are effective and the story is one we can all relate to. Regardless of where we come from."
Well worth seeing
J. Michel | Saint Paul, MN | 12/19/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you're curious about Hungarian cinema, and "Mephisto" is the only Szabo film you've seen, take a chance on this excellent, much earlier black and white effort.
"Father" reminds me of some of Truffaut's films about childhood and coming of age, but the unique experience of Hungary and Hungarians in the 20th century lends Szabo's film a special poignacy worlds apart from Truffaut. Not that you need to know all the ins and outs of 20th Century Hungarian history to appreciate the film, but the more you do know, the more you probably will appreciate some of the layers of irony and humor in this memorable little film."
Must-See Gem of European Cinema
S. Fairbank | Seattle, WA | 03/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"With his film Father, Hungarian film titan Istvan Szabo created a watershed film about the coming of age of a boy who lost his father while still a small child, and who, as he grows up, fills the void left by his father's premature death by reconstructing who the man was in his imagination.
The movie has a two-part structure, the first focusing on the boy while still in grade school, the second part showing him as a young man. The latter part is played by Hungarian film and theater legend András Bálint, who is perfect in the role.
Father touches on many facets of Hungarian life and culture during the communist era, but offers no harsh editorials and doesn't allow the story to veer far from the perspective of a young man looking for the truth about where he came from. The film is emotional and tinged with sentimentality without being mawkish, and showcases Szabo's unique brand of neo-New Wave storytelling at its best."