Love, Mother

Janos Rosza’s Hungarian comedy-drama about a contemporary family whose members are too busy to talk to each other, written by Miklos Vamos, begins promisingly with witty notations about the various ways the members of the family get up in the morning, avoid each other, and go about their business. The plot gets fairly convoluted after that, and as its various strands build to a climaxthe mother wants a divorce, the father cheats on her, the son plays hooky and spies on the other family members and neighbors through a periscope, the daughter has no one to talk to and eventually attempts suicide, and all of them neglect a grandmother who is dying in a hospitalthe pacing becomes more willful and leaden, and the film seems especially unsure about when to stop. But there’s still enough humor and observation to keep one interested much of the time. Dorotyya Udvaros, who plays the mother, won the best-actress prize at the Moscow film festival, and the film won the grand prize at Budapest’s film festival (1988). (JR)

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