Movie Suggestion XXXVII: A nagy füzet
Country: Hungary | Germany | Austria | France – 2013
Genre: War, Drama
Directed by: János Szász
Starring: László Gyémánt, András Gyémánt, Piroska Molnár, Ulrich Thomsen.
“Twin siblings enduring the harshness of WWII in a village on the Hungarian border hedge their survival on studying and learning from the evil surrounding them.” (imdb.com)
“Are you a nihilist? Trouble finding a way to bring satisfaction to a Friday night in the void of meaningless suffering that is your universe? Well, do I have the movie for you. It’s called The Notebook, and no, Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams are not involved.
There’s something bracing about a film that makes so little concession toward entertaining an audience. There’s a couple of bits of perverse sexuality in this pitch-black WWII-era Hungarian drama, but even those are part and parcel of a worldview of pitiless, Godless, man’s inhumanity to man. The two unnamed leading characters—affectless twin boys (András and László Gyémánt), natch—are left, by their mother (Gyöngyvér Bognár), with an abusive grandmother (Piroska Molnár), known by local villagers as “the witch.”” (grouchoreviews.com)
“(…) all I would like to add is that this is the first and only movie that I have ever seen that I think succeeds in realistically portraying the devastating human aspects of WWII on a personal level without resorting to sentimentalism or nostalgia. Although gruesome with plenty of disturbing scenes, it is not grotesque.(…)” (Laszlo Lieszkovszky – imdb.com)
“The film is not only beautiful to watch but also very deep. It shows the cruelties of the war through the life of two twin brothers that are left to the care of a non forgiving grandmother during the war. They are so innocent and so good but that has to change because their new place is very cruel. People are cruel, environment is cruel and everything is even harsher because of the World War II. So they decide to overcome their weaknesses by fronting their fears. They are in the end successful in that. They become as cruel as the place they are left in and they refuse to leave their once detested grandmother to live with their loving mother. They even use their father’s life to get to their own end. Overall a very moving, very real depiction of war time. The audience does not have to endure graphic violence scenes, but the violence is conveyed through the stern faces and determined behaviour of the two very young boys who are identical to look at, which makes it all the more memorable.” (Azadeh Ta – imdb.com)
“In one of the most remarkable scenes of ‘The Notebook’, twin 12 year old brothers methodically, coldly trade punches. Each swings at the other, and then stands still, face expressionless, as he receives a slew of punches back. Gradually the punches are harder, and eventually they start using belts to ratchet up then pain threshold. They are children but this is no game: they are toughening up, physically and psychologically, to survive the war. They have realized that cuddling together and wishing the war away will not save them, and they better be prepared for hunger, pain, betrayal and daily humiliations.
“Hungarian films are their own sub-genre. Perhaps no other country has produced such consistently bleak films, soaked in pessimism and mostly focused on moral corruption and confusion. This small gem of a film is yet another example of this cinematic tradition. This is not quite at the level of masterpieces such as ‘Come and See’or ‘Time of the Drunken Horses’, my two favorite films about childhood during wartime, but absolutely deserves to be seen, or, to be more precise, endured.” (Kike Orellana – imdb.com)
“There are times the director’s visualization of this story comes close to leaving you breathless. An Allied air raid sends adults scurrying to shelters while the two boys run into the street, twirling invincibly as the shadows of bombers cross their faces. Elsewhere, “The Notebook” is content to capture human squalor — a soldier frozen to death, a raped woman, a burning farm — amidst the beauty of rural nature. (…) (bostonglobe.com)
“The Notebook is about being set adrift in the universe, with nothing—no home, no person, no moral law—to cling to or, perhaps, even worth clinging to. In other words, happy Friday, moviegoers.
Is The Notebook art? Yes. But will anyone be a better person after sitting through it, this endurance test of a film? Before their father sees his sons off, he hands them a notebook and instructs, “I want to know everything. Don’t leave a thing out.” Famous last words, as they say. No matter how truthful The Notebook may be, audiences may regret this hopeless tour of human horrors.” (grouchoreviews.com)
All images belong to their rightful owners.April 14, 2015