Director: Zoltán Huszárik
Starring: Zoltán Latinovits, Éva Ruttkai, Eva Leelossy, Margit Dajka, Anna Nagy
Duration: 90 min.
The life and memories of traveler and womanizer Szindbád, who tries to recover his lost love before he dies.
Sinbad is a Hungarian film directed by Zoltán Huszárik, based on short stories by Gyula Krúdy. His first feature length film, it has been praised by critics and is regarded as one of the best works of Hungarian cinema. It was selected in 2000 as part of the Budapest 12, a list of the 12 best Hungarian Films.
This is a unique film with a very surreal and experimental feel to it. One without much of a narrative, but excels with its sumptuous visual imagery. The first color film in my Spotlight on Hungarian Cinema, the cinematography shot here by Sándor Sára, is absolutely sensual and stunning, using highly saturated colors that bring out the elegance and beauty of the characters and their surroundings. The scenes utilize a mixture of quick cut stylized close ups and long panning wide shots capturing a variety of simple worldly delights. In the opening montage we see glimpses of flowers, trees, photographs and the embers of burning wood. A recurring pattern that we learn is used to symbolize the memories of Sinbad (Zoltán Latinovits), a dying man looking back with an aura of regret upon his life, with an emphasis on the many loves he left behind.
We watch as Sinbad revisits his past flames in a last attempt to make sense of his own life. The sequences unfold in apparently random and overlapping order, sometimes only for a few seconds and other times for several minutes. We jump to different times, places and seasons, the only constant being Sinbad and the amazing early 20th century images that are displayed. Highlighted by two glorious dancing scenes that bookend the film, and a gluttonous one man feast in which Sinbad indulges in course after delicious looking course in the most vivid and hunger inducing detail.
Zoltán Huszárik's Sinbad is a highly artistic and enigmatic work that on the surface is quite a magical and beguiling experience. So much so that I think it will require another viewing or two down the road to fully appreciate.
— Bonjour Tristesse