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(aka "Bizalom" )

 

directed by Istvan Szabo
Hungary 1980

 

During the 1944 Nazi occupation of Hungary, a young woman (Ildikó Bánsági, MEETING VENUS) learns abruptly that her husband (Lajos Balázsovits, REQUIEM) is part of a underground revolutionary group and has had to go into hiding. She is told that she too must go underground and is given a new identity as Kata, wife of the similarly pseudonymous Janos Biro (Péter Andorai, DELIVER US FROM EVIL) with who she must share a rented room in the house of an old couple (Oszkárné Gombik and Károly Csáki) sympathetic to their plight. Extremely wary of the possibility of exposure and distrustful of everyone, Janos bullies her into secrecy and insists that they withhold personal information even from each other. Janos is also extremely suspicious of Kata, and she grows increasingly resentful of the elaborate tests he devises to gauge her trustworthiness; although she too grows fearful and paranoid in her encounters with others. Isolated together mostly in the confines of their single room, Kata and Janos are drawn into a love affair built partly upon confessions about their real lives and shared escapist fantasies. Their happiness is short-lived, however, as the increasing Nazi presence and contacts with their spouses create more distrust and jealousy.

The seventh feature film of Istvan Szabo, the mesmerizing CONFIDENCE preceded the director's ascension to international fame with the Academy Award-winning MEPHISTO (1981), the first of three collaborations with actor Klaus Maria Brandauer. The exteriors are stuffed with extras and period detail in a manner that does not suggest the greater focus on the claustrophobic rented room setting was a purely budgetary choice. Szabo's regular cinematographer Lajos Koltai - Academy Award nominee for MALENA - bathes most of the exteriors and interiors in oppressive blue tones with the occasional hellish reds and more saturated blue gels, while lighting the main characters in increasingly warmer tones (from lamplight, candlelight, and daylight streaming throw windows) as they achieve both physical and emotional intimacy (when they are alone, however, Koltai once again lights them in colder tones). Bánsági and Andorai are riveting presences who have continued to make appearances in Szabo's subsequent higher-profile work. The narrative gives us nothing objective of the characters' pasts beyond what they reveal to one another; this is particularly interesting in Janos' case since his distrust stems from being betrayed to the Nazis by lover (although the flashbacks suggest his paranoia may have set him running without any external confirmation). The intimate nature of this chamber piece alludes to the greater power of political and social oppression and persecution to erode our ability to connect with one another, to experience and face adversity together, and to cement individuals into rigid roles through anxiety and fear about their ability to survive and function.

Eric Cotenas

Poster

Theatrical Release: 10 January 1980 (Hungary)

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DVD Review: Second Run DVD - Region 0 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution

Second Run DVD

Region 0 - PAL

Runtime 1:41:09 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.76:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.47 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Hungarian Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Second Run DVD

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.76:1

Edition Details:
• Interview with director Istvan Szabo (4:3; 20:30)
• Liner Notes Booklet by Catherine Portuges

DVD Release Date: June 25th 2012
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

Second Run's dual-layered, progressive, anamorphic transfer is derived from a 2011 Hungarian restoration. The video is virtually spotless apart from the reel changes and a few white specs around these points. The back cover states that the Dolby Digital 2.0 audio is "Original stereo (restored)" but IMDb states mono. If it is a stereo mix, it's not active enough to be noticeable (there is no separation in the rare score passages or the phonograph music and the explosion sound effects heard late in the film are more loud than directional). The optional English subtitles are error free, but occasionally fail to fully translate overlapping dialogue (usually combinations of spoken dialogue and voice-over); however, they get the job done.

The only video extra is a twenty-minute English-language interview with the director shot for Turner Classic Movies' "Off Set" series. He discusses how he wanted to be a doctor, his experiences in the theatre in college, and his fascination with "how love turns into jealousy in movement" in front of the camera. He bypasses most of his early films in favor of speaking about his collaboration with actor Klaus Maria Brandauer starting with MEPHISTO (probably Szabo's best-known film stateside), MEETING VENUS (with Glenn Close), BEING JULIA (with Annette Benning), and SUNSHINE (with Ralph Fiennes), and his appreciation of the professionalism and collaborative attitudes of the actors with which he has worked. The interview concludes with Szabo name-checking some other Hungarian personalities in Hollywood's past (specifically director Michael Curtiz). Catherine Portuges contributes a sixteen-page liner notes essay on the feature.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Second Run DVD

Region 0 - PAL


 




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