Thursday, August 11, 2011

Time Stands Still (1982)

Time Stands Still • Megáll az idö (1982)
Time Stands Still • Megáll az idö (1982)


Genre: Drama
Director: Péter Gothár
Starring: Anikó Iván, István Znamenák, Péter Gálfy, Henrik Pauer, Sándor Söth
Duration: 103 min.
Rating: 7.4  

Summary:
Recounts the emotional ups and downs of the period between 1956 and 1958 as reflected in the lives of the main characters:  secondary school students, their parents, and teachers whose fates are invaded by the tempestuous events of the failed revolution of 1956.

Time Stands Still • Megáll az idö (1982)


Time Stands Still is a Hungarian film directed by Péter Gothár and co written by Géza Bereményi.  The title comes from the name of a popular Hungarian song.  In 2000, it was selected as one of the Budapest 12, a list of the 12 best Hungarian films.

The film begins shortly after the Hungarian uprising of 1956, and follows the story of Dini (István Znamenák), the younger of two teenage brothers whose father was a failed revolutionary and had to flee the country.  Providing an interesting slice of their lives as they do the normal things teenagers do, attend school, get into trouble, and fall in love.  We also get to see the influence of American culture of that era, with the student band playing rock songs by Elvis, and kids at a party getting drunk on Coca-Cola. 

The cinematography was really well done, there's a close and intimate feel to the film, and the colors are cast with a hazy tone to reflect the past.  Among the highlights include several perfectly choreographed sequences, my favorites being a fluidly handheld sequence in a classroom where the students are being searched for contraband, a charming scene of a band playing Don't Be Cruel with unintelligible lyrics, and a low angle gliding shot down an increasingly busy school hallway. 

The story isn't all that special and I'm sure it was intended to be a nostalgic look at the past for Hungarians, but it does have a few touching moments that an outsider can enjoy, and a well written bittersweet and comical epilogue, leaving us with a shot of Dini drunk and pissing on a wall.

Bonjour Tristesse

Time Stands Still • Megáll az idö (1982)

Time Stands Still • Megáll az idö (1982)

Time Stands Still • Megáll az idö (1982)

Time Stands Still • Megáll az idö (1982)

Time Stands Still • Megáll az idö (1982)

Time Stands Still • Megáll az idö (1982)

Time Stands Still • Megáll az idö (1982)

Time Stands Still • Megáll az idö (1982)

18 comments:

The Angry Lurker said...

Quite interesting, damn good cinema. Is there much of an industry now?

FrontRoomCinema said...

You do seem to find some really obscure but fascinating stuff matey!! Love this site for that

Moviemonstrosityblog said...

I did some research on the influence of American culture in our western civilization. Had an interview with one of the profs who joined the student revolutions in the sixties. So yeah, love these kind of films ;)

d_4 said...

This is something like a maybe for me. It doesn't scream "watch it!" to me, but it also seems interesting enough.

The Angry Vegetarian said...

As FrontRoomCinema said, you excel at sharing this type of stuff - which is why I keep coming here. There's something about 80's foreign films that make me feel very content.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

It seems to be growing but not much of it reaches the world stage.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

I actually considered changing the blog name to Cinema Obscura in the early days.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

It's fascinating stuff, and especially relevant now, considering all the uprisings currently happening around the world.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Thanks AV, I appreciate your loyal readership.

Hoi-Ming Ng said...

This one will most likely pass me by.

amerikanka said...

I absolutely loved this film 30 years ago, am looking to buy it.

amerikanka said...

just found you - and Bonjour Tristesse is a far better blog name than Cinema Obscura.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Welcome amerikanka! and thank you, makes me glad I stuck with it.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

It's hard to believe 1982 was 30 years ago. Wow does that ever make me feel old.

I'm not sure where you are, but there is a fairly recent DVD released by the Hungarian National Film Archive that isn't too difficult to track down.

Daniel Antal said...

I am a Hungarian movie lover and I think this is the best movie ever made in Hungary, even though there were better decorated ones. Its foreign success allowed it through the censorship. The censor only broke the storyline as it connected the uprising of '56 with the crushing of the '68 revolution in Prague. (Dini pissing at the wall substitutes the real closing scene). The dialogues are very poorly translated and probably this make this masterpiece less accessible for English speakers. Obviously, the main dilemma of the movie (emigration or not from the dictatorship) is more important for people who grew up under dictatorship than for movie lovers in the free world.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Thank you for the comment Daniel, it's always great to hear a native's perspective on a film.



I think there are films like this from every country, where no matter how perfectly it captures the spirit of a time and place, the true feeling and meaning of it will be impossible to translate to an outsider.



PS. Please feel free to recommend any Hungarian films that I may have missed.

Daniel Antal said...

Thanks. Some time ago I made some research about how could you re-release this film with decent subtitles - very difficult. I know it is a masterpiece that was made in a context and to an audience that cannot be re-created elsewhere, but the quality of the translation really reduces its chances to being understood. This is the only Hungarian film I am passionate about, because I think it is far the best ever. Its making was a courageous act of great artists and actors. Good that you reviewed it.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

This is the most incompetent presentation on a classic film I have ever read. Really, why watch films if all the historical and psychological nuance goes over your head? Meh.

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