A Hungarian Fairy Tale

Gyula Gazdag’s 1986 Hungarian feature follows the adventures of Andris (David Vermes), who is searching for his father, and Antal (Frantisek Husak), a local clerk who once persuaded Andris’s mother to assign her son an imaginary father in order to acquire a birth certificate. The film starts out as a satire about Hungarian bureaucracy and gets progressively stranger and more unpredictable as it proceeds, finally winding up as a wide-eyed fantasy with provocative allegorical overtones about Hungarian identity. Elemer Ragalyi’s superb black-and-white cinematography and Gazdag’s very personal handling of editing and mood somehow hold it all together. With Maria Varga and Eszter Csakanyi. (JR)

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