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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Sinbad" )

 

directed by Zoltán Huszárik
Hungary 1971

 

Whereas Sindbad the Sailor sailed the seven seas in search of adventure, Szindbad the seducer (Zoltán Latinovits) travels through the cafes, restaurants, brothels, and bedrooms of turn-of-the-century Hungary conquering women. Young, old, rich, poor, beautiful, ugly, flighty, neurotic, respectable, Szindbad samples all of them. When we first meet him, he is dead, packed off into the back of a horse-drawn cart and sent "home" but his body is rejected as the horses makes stops at the residences of past lovers (one of whom steals his winter coat before sending him off). Through a series of non-linear episodes - with only a gesture, a word, or a phrase to suddenly transition from one to another - we meet several of his past loves both in the past and the present (and we are in doubt as to the veracity of any of them since Szindbad himself says "Life is a chain of beautiful lies" and his recollections are meant to bring him pleasure). Some of the women have wised up (and are even able to provide Szindbad himself with insight into his own character), while others have carried the torch even though they have married and settled down. The numerous encounters advance no plot, they merely add layer upon layer to Szindbad's character, whose pursuit of sensation has not left him happy; as he seduces one woman, he's either thinking of the next or the one before (he even abandons a wealthy older woman - who has told him that she is willing her fortune to him - in favor of another conquest). His end finds him literally and figuratively without a home to rest.

Based on the semi-autobiographic character created by Gyula Krudy, and incorporating episodes from his supposedly unfilmable stories (where a little bit of incident usually serves as a launch point for Krudy's musings which reportedly anticipate James Joyce, Marcel Proust, and Virginia Woolf among others), SZINDBAD was the first feature-length film of director Zoltan Huszarik and it has since kept its place in polls over the years of the best Hungarian films. The film opens up with a montage of rapidly cut details (oil floating in water, stands of blond hair, a budding rose, melting snow, water dripping off tree bark) that are revealed to be motifs associated with each woman, and as each appears again on screen throughout the picture, we are carried one step closer to Szindbad's end (the last of his conquests we see - which may be the first - takes place on a frozen lake, which reminds us of the snowy terrain through which Szindbad's dead body is carried by the horses). Sadly, Huszarik would never eclipse this film (his big budget film on the life of painter Csontvary - in which Latinovits was to star before his death, a possible suicide or tragic accident - was a failure and he would die a year later at age fifty.

Eric Cotenas

Poster

Theatrical Release: 25 November 1971 (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 1:30:36 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.86:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.95 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 mono
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Second Run DVD

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.86:1

Edition Details:
• Szindbad: An Appreciation by filmmaker Peter Strickland (16:9; 12:17)
• Liner Notes Booklet by Michael Brooke

DVD Release Date: July 11th, 2011
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

Sourced from a 2011 digital restoration, Second Run's progressive, anamorphic, dual-layer transfer is virtually spotless with the exception of the reel change marks and some faint scratches around these points. Sharpness varies, but this film is a tapestry of memories and diverse textures (some brief moments possibly representing the protagonist's childhood memories look optically-enlarged, probably intentionally so). The Hungarian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono has a faint level of hiss but is generally clean, and the subtitles are error-free (even if they apparently fail to capture the distinctly "Hungarian" rhythms of author Gyula Krudy's prose that have supposedly made good translations of his work difficult).

Filmmaker Peter Strickland provides a twelve minute appreciation of the film in which he likens Huszarik's techniques to Nicolas Roeg and Stan Brakhage. There is some overlap with the liner notes booklet by Kinoblog's Michael Brooke, who provides background on Krudy, Huszarik (including his early short films), star Zoltan Latinovits (Husarik approached Vittorio de Sica first), and the film's lasting popularity in Hungary (he also provides official links to streaming video of two of Husarik's short films).

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Second Run DVD

Region 0 - PAL

 




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