Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Little Valentino (1979)

The Little Valentino / A kis Valentinó (1979)
The Little Valentino / A kis Valentinó (1979)


Genre: Drama
Director:  András Jeles
Starring: János Opoczki, István Iványi, József Farkas, Dénes Ladányi
Duration: 102 min.
Rating: 7.0  

Summary:
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

The Little Valentino / A kis Valentinó (1979)

The Little Valentino / A kis Valentinó (1979)

The Little Valentino / A kis Valentinó (1979)

The Little Valentino / A kis Valentinó (1979)

The Little Valentino / A kis Valentinó (1979)

The Little Valentino / A kis Valentinó (1979)

The Little Valentino / A kis Valentinó (1979)

The Little Valentino / A kis Valentinó (1979)

9 comments:

Bonjour Tristesse said...

That's a good way to put it

LouiseReviews said...

Sounds interesting and I like the idea of the camera wandering off and then returning to the protagonist, but I'm a little tired of the habit (more so in books than films) of making the lead character unlikeable - I want to feel some empathy with the hero, not be turned off by them.

Hoi-Ming Ng said...

Sounds intriguing at the least.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Yeah it really doesn't deliver much beyond showing a tiny slice of life.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Yes that was an interesting stylistic choice, and I'm OK with an antihero as long as the scenario is compelling enough.  This one for example offered a time and place I hadn't seen in film before.  I probably would have been much less tolerant if it was set in New York.

The Angry Lurker said...

Really sounds interesting in a frivolous way.

FrontRoomCinema said...

Sounds intriguing although I doubt I will get to see it. But I do enjoy reading your write ups BT. Thanks for doing the leg work!!

d_4 said...

Another one that I would initially consider watching, but after seeing it written down it just seems like I'd only get half way to content.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Wow. You are not very perceptive, aren't you?

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