Director: András Jeles
Starring: János Opoczki, István Iványi, József Farkas, Dénes Ladányi
Duration: 102 min.
Follow a day in the life of Laszlo, a 20-year-old driver's assistant who spends his day riding cabs, flirting with ladies, and gambling on pinball games - using the money he's just stolen.
The Little Valentino is a Hungarian film directed by András Jeles and was his feature film debut. In 2000, it was selected by Hungarian film critics as part of the Budapest 12, the twelve best films of Hungary.
The minimalistic story loosely follows the escapades of a young slacker who recently stole a bundle of cash. The main character is László (János Opoczki), an aimless and unlikeable young man, which the camera follows from one place to another, as he interacts with various citizens along the way, all the while frivolously spending his loot. Sometimes the camera wanders off, and briefly follows one of the many characters he encounters, but soon enough it returns to observe László go about the rest of his day.
The experimental narrative and the largely unsympathetic main character, make this film somewhat difficult to get into. However, it does provide a very fascinating look at late seventies life in Hungary; and it's not the grim image one expects to see of a communist country. For example, László is seen at various times riding a taxi, eating at a swanky restaurant, ordering cognac and champagne at a bar, and gambling at a pinball arcade. It also uses an interesting stylistic technique, displaying the main character's thoughts typed on screen rather than having a spoken voice over.
Overall The Little Valentino isn't what I would call essential viewing, but it does have some fascinating imagery, and fans of Jim Jarmusch's work will likely find it an interesting watch.
— Bonjour Tristesse