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“1945” The Long Road for Reprisal

 

 

 

Review by John Delia, Sr.

Having reviewed a large number of films with the subject of WWII and the persecution of the Jews, I’m familiar with the holocaust, but not the subject matter that deals with this one about the aftermath in the country of Hungary. In the film “1945” the story takes you to a small town where some of the people profited from their dishonesty involving land and businesses takeovers within this strange justified story of payback

The film opens at a train station where Hermann Sámuel (Iván Angelus) and his son (Marcell Nagy) arrive with two trunks. The Stationmaster (István Znamenák) greets them and bikes into town to tell Town Clerk István Szentes (Péter Rudolf) of their arrival. Istvan is very leery of the two men as he had confiscated the house and pharmacy when the Jews were rounded up in his town and shipped to concentration camps. Now that the war was over in Europe, had they come back to claim what he had falsely taken?

Hermann Sámuel (Iván Angelus) and his son (Marcell Nagy) walk through the Hungarian countryside towards the village.

It’s a special day for Istvan as his son Arpád (Bence Tasnádi) is about to get married today. Suspicious of the two Jews, he tells Officer József Iharos (Sándor Terhes) to keep an eye on them and inform him when he finds out why they are here. What Istvan doesn’t know is that he is headed for a day that he wishes never happened.

Town clerk István Szentes (Péter Rudolf) rides into town with Officer József Iharos (Sándor Terhes).

Director Ferenc Török sets up his audience using a nicely written script that involves the whole community. Suspicion leads to distrust and pits friend against friend and wives against neighbors. It’s a devilish day and the town and those who were the informers who pointed out their neighbors as Jews, get their due in a strange and culpable way.

Anna Szentes (Eszter Nagy-Kálózy) confronts her future daughter-in-law Kisrózsi (Dóra Sztarenki) on her wedding day

The acting in the film is magnificent with Péter Rudolf as Istvan leading the way as the Town Clerk who oversees the village for the Russians. Confident and power hungry, his condescending manner will be put to the test. Even his wife Anna Szentes (Eszter Nagy-Kálózy) has lost the will to side with him, and when the strangers from the train arrive at the village, Istvan starts to lose control.

Playing the intended wife of the Town Clerk’s son, Dóra Sztarenki as Kisrózsi, has her eye on the wealth that the Pharmacy brings in. She’s also not over her last boyfriend and keeps him under her wing with her charms. She’s the catylist that could bring the town down and her mother-in-law to be knows all her tricks.

The Stationmaster (István Znamenák) and Suba Mihály (Miklós B. Székely) prepare to take their mysterious Jewish visitors into town.

It’s the kind of film, that although an historical setting, that you can sink your teeth into and enjoy without taking sides. It captivates by vacillating between right and wrong never letting go of its audience’s involvement in the crisis on the screen well beyond the end credits. It’s also a film with a reminder of how far-reaching the holocaust was and how incredibly diabolical toward a peaceful people. In a final scene, as the stationmaster blows his whistle and the train pulls out of the station the audience gets one last ironic look into the eyes of Hermann Sámuel and the hurt and sorrow that never ends.

1945 has not been rated by the MPAA, but contains an act of madness and sex. The film is presented in Russian and Hungarian with English subtitles.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A just reminder that what goes around comes around. (5 out of 5 stars)

Additional Film Information
Cast: Péter Rudolf, Bence Tasnádi, Tamás Szabó Kimmel, Dóra Sztarenki, Ági Szirtes, József Szarvas, Eszter Nagy-Kálózy, Iván Angelus, Marcell Nagy, Miklós B. Szekely, György Somhegyi, István Znamenák, Sándor Terhes, Béla Gados.
Directed by: Ferenc Török
Genre: Drama, Foreign
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 1 hr. 31 min.
Release Date: February 16, 2018
Distributed by: Menemsha Films
Released in: Black and White, (Hungarian, Russian dialogue)

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