Charming, Haunting, Tragic
Erika Borsos | Gulf Coast of FL, USA | 03/01/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Thomas and Julie are two young people, attracted to each other, who often find their paths crossing in the town where they live. They often glance at the other but each is too shy to approach and express their true feelings. The film begins by a long view of a quiet village/town in Hungary that is nestled between two hilltops and is accompanied by music that is chilling, with a sense of foreboding. Next there is a room full of miners who are waiting to hear if they are working on New Year's Eve or if they have the day off. Thomas has had a crush on Julie for sometime and his Uncle with whom he lives knows something is wrong and suspects the true reason. When they are out fishing, the Uncle advises Thomas to speak to Julie, ask her for a date on Saturday, if she is busy then ask her for Sunday, if she keeps refusing, he might as well give up and search for another girl who is interested in him.
One day, Thomas discovers Julie sitting on a bench in a park. He circles around the back of a tree and sits down asking her permisson if he can sit down. She replies, yes, of course. He builds up the courage to ask her for a date and she agrees. Thomas is on cloud nine. Throughout the summer, they meet at different locations, talk, and eventually they kiss. Thomas visits the kindergarten where she works and one of the most poignant scenes is when a little boy goes up to him and gives him a kiss. For whatever reason, Thomas and Julie maintain a game of cat and mouse as each is still unsure of how to express their true feelings and lacks trust in their budding relationship. At one point, Julie rebuffs Thomas when he makes more serious advances. Thomas is unsure where he stands, wondering, did he go too far too soon? He tries to make amends and goes to meet Julie at the bus stop carrying a bunch of flowers. Julie gets off the bus and curtly asks, "What are you staring at?" He drops the flowers and leaves. It is only when she arrives home she realizes he was waiting for her, to give her flowers.
Time passes and they build up an intense relationship. It is New Year's Eve and Julie had sent a note to Thomas tellng him to meet her at a certain location that night. She waits until it is minutes before midnight and concludes he will not show up. After she goes into a local bistro/bar and watches an interview of the miners who are working New Year's Eve, Julie sees Thomas in the background. She makes a fateful decision which leads to a most surprising and unexpected ending. Keep in mind, this film is in Hungarian with subtitles and although some of the nuances and meaning are lost in translation, for the most part, the sense and direction of the film is clearly evident. The film is loaded with excellent technical cinematography, amazing realistic acting, quiet moments rich with meaning and intense feelings, and a major twist of an ending. It is most highly recommended film. Erika Borsos [pepper flower]
Brilliant Love Story of New Years Reminiscence
Kim Anehall | Chicago, IL USA | 06/05/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Tamás, a young coal miner, enters the mine remembering how he discovered his first true love. The lucky girl was Juli, whom Tamás approached with innocent clumsiness to eventually find his efforts to charm Juli paying off. In reminisce Tamás recalls the summer they spent together and how they grew closer and closer, but eventually had misunderstandings and frustrations that separated them. Tamás was further reminded of his relationship with Juli when he received a letter declaring that she wanted to spend New Years Eve of 2000 with him, but Tamás was forced to stay in the mines. Overall, the film is a playful love story that is depicted with superb cinematography with the score playing a strong part in the cinematic experience."
Love can be methane, too
Stephen Taylor | Chapel Hill, North Carolina | 02/11/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a short and uncomplicated story about a frustrated (and frustrating!) love affair between Juli, shy school teacher, and Tamás, a young mine worker. Set in a small Hungarian mining town on December 31, 1999, the story jumps back and forth between summer, when the couple falls in love, and winter, by which time everything has obviously gone awry. This movie ought to be shown in every Flirting 101 class. Juli, impossibly gorgeous but proud, won't give in to Tamás's awkward and pushy cravings. After a few picturesque summer smooches punctuated with the sight of dogs copulating in the distance, the young man's libido sends the relationship decidedly downhill. Tamás is so inept and laconic and unauthentically romantic as to be virtually anti-romantic. Seriously, this dude must have suffered from some kind of protein deficiency when he was a kid. He eventually sows his wild oats with an obliging hooker at a bus stop while Juli is writing him a love letter trying to arrange a New Year's Eve tryst. Alas, woe unto you, ignoble Romeo, he's called to work at the mine. . . and you'll just have to watch the rest of this movie yourself to find out what happens.Tamás was pretty annoying to watch, but I enjoyed the movie a lot. What's interesting is that the director takes what on the surface is a pretty predictable plot and turns it inside out by showing us the scene where Tamás is called to the mine at the beginning of the movie, getting us to think this is going to be up there with "Romeo & Juliet", then pulling the rug out from under our feet as we slowly find out that Tamás and Juli weren't actually such an idyllic item after all. Visually, it's also an impressive flick, switching back and forth between summer and winter, where winter is kind of a leitmotif for tragedy. Cool soundtrack, too! Check it out if you get a chance! Five stars."