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2008-12-19

Türelem

Intentions fail


This Hungarian Short film is not only a treasure in the deep (of Hungarian film industry) but has it's very own depths that hide treasures to be explored too. When you watch it you'd be surprised cause it's much bigger than you thought it'd be. After you'd be inspired to read all available info - including the original script - cause you just can't believe what you have seen ...

Available info - including a pretty good interview with the young director - really doesn't get you far. It looks like the idea was really and only to show a young woman in love working in an office located in a nazi death camp. Yes, it can sound shocking - but you have to understand that for Hungarian filmmakers Holocaust as a motive is such a thing within reach like guns and drugs for American filmmakers or for the Brits (different culture that's all, it also has to do with awards and festivals). The idea is simply to get this contrast between the ignorant woman in love - and what's happening around her including executing naked people in the woods involving nazi dogs and machine guns. The idea was simple indeed and of course you can understand anyone asking if you want to show ignorance why does it have to be naked people executed in the death camp but the movie gives you so much more that you might think intentions have failed and a much deeper film was born than it was supposed to, than it was intended ... Yes, we are talking about an accidentally good short film - adding the note: accidents in this field don't exists :)

So let's forget what the original plan was and let's only focus on what we actually see - film is about development anyways ... It's just that developing didn't stop, didn't reach resting point in the editing room but in the deep dark of a screening room - that's it ...

In the opening shot the woman - out of focus - comes close to the camera - becomes sharp for a second when she takes something from a person (who's POV was represented by the camera). It's a brooch (or at least it looks like that). Then she starts walking .. walking into the deep of a strange space which looks like a mine or a factory and will only later become a strange office space - a really Kafkaian one (Kafka's work is another thing that Hungarians keep near :)). This walking is like 1 third of all the happenings in the film - very emphatic. It is so because all that you see is her face and the rest is out of focus or only visible in “sound” - like her steps: very heavy shoes (or at least they sound so). So that's the thing about this walking “in”. She's walking in - deeper and deeper into this strange space - and you're exploring it as she's getting in - deeper and deeper. It could be a mine, could be a factory, could be at any time any period and the fact that it's “eventually” an office already gives a very memorable artistic depiction of the phenomenon of offices which makes it already a good film. It's like she's travelling thru spaces - that could be travelling thru time as well but that'd be another movie. The travelling in “this one” stops when she takes her seat at her desk.

Yes, we know she's supposed to be in love at “the office”. She's supposed to be listening to the love songs coming from the loudspeakers but what you actually see is totally a different story - and even direction and acting supports this latter one ...

What reads as “love song” in the script sounds as “a German radio song from that time” - that time meaning nazism. When you watch a film you're not supposed to be thinking but letting yourself go with the flow saving the thinking for later only. No matter what that song has as lyrics no matter who performed it, what only matters is that in this context it appears as a common German radio song ...

The girl (performed by young magnetic actress Virag Marjai) didn't look happy and didn't look part of whatever was going on in “the office”. She actually looks worn out - you can actually see her black eyed ... and happiness is something totally alien to her mood. More significant however the way she reacts when somebody important comes by in the office. While others stand up and salute she remains motionless and doesn't even look up. This is tension. This is good - this is drama. This is a secret. But apart from whatever that is she no way a happy officer nor the happy part of what's going on. She's sad, she's suffering and she's trying to focus on this brooch that she even puts on her shirt (somehow you feel that it's at least unspokenly against the rules of the office to wear such a thing).

The most dramatic part is by all means when she happens to look out of the window and there's those people being forced to undress. Here you see an elderly woman who wants to go somewhere but she's being stopped by armed nazi guards. What she's doing is not an attempt of an escape, rather she's unconsciously going astray, trying to get somewhere - to s spot that she can even see from where she is now. It's like she's trying t get to the entrance of the office, to a fence or anything near and visible. The fact that unlike anything and anybody else in this movie she is in focus will easily make us believe that it's her who gave the girl that brooch. Yes, the old lady somehow must have managed to get away from where she was kept and made that hypnotic contact to the girl that you see in the opening shot. This contact could made her feel out of context of the office. This new thing - this jewel above her heart represents beauty, human feelings, tradition, culture, society - in contrast to white and grey uniforms. This meaningful jewel is the main conflict of the film. All out of focus, all blurriness of the film comes from the moment she got this brooch. The only thing that doesn't fit is why she closes the window ... Well, obviously it's a mistake which we can't do anything about ...

The fact that this film has no cuts and no other characters but the girl (and the old woman and the naked captives) makes this film a performance. A beautiful one. A film performance. A performance the imprint of which is the film, the pure footage they shot and the “curtains up”- revelation attached to the end: the credits. So many names, so many people behind this film which shows only a face - facing reality. Her face represents many. It's like all these many people (further representing others) went to this grave, to this black hole, to this ground zero of history and dropped a flower - representing memory.

Films work as trips. They take you in the beginning and let you go in the end - with a rational explanation like those that Will Smith and his partners will give people in MIB after flashing them. Surely you can sit in to witness this touching Holocaust-film thinking and knowing that it's gonna be a short film about a woman who's in love and who works in an “office”. You can even go home afterwards thinking that that was all you have just seen. Surely you can do that but then how will you explain that every second of this touching film has burnt into your brains so deep that it just won't get out? Sugar? I've never seen sugar do that.
-jepe-
2008-12-19

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  LÁSD: Türelem info-file
:::::::  (With a Little Patience 2007.)