The Documentator

This fascinating, ambitious Hungarian picture about an upscale, middle-aged video bootlegger compiling a video history of the world, his beautiful girlfriend, and her youthful lover (who works as the bootlegger’s clerk) has more to say about the worldwide video revolution and the transformation of eastern Europe than any other film I can think of. Made by the talented couple Istvan Darday and Gyorgyi Szalai, it runs for 215 minutes, a large portion of which is made up of assorted video and TV materialfamiliar movies, historical documents, commercials, porn, and so on. Critic J. Hoberman has suggested that it may be the first genuinely post-Marxist Hungarian film. It bristles with wit, irony, and subtexts, and shows considerable flair in the mise en scene, nearly all of it set around the hapless hero’s sumptuous flat and the adjoining video-rental store. Strongly recommended; with Mihaly Des, Lilla Paszti, and Janos Agoston (1989). (JR)

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