Down By Love

Can a film be a tour de force and still basically uninteresting? This 2003 Hungarian feature by Tamas Sas focuses on a young woman (Patricia Kovacs) who has been having an affair with her stepfather since childhood; living on his calls and visits, delivering monologues to herself as she putters around her flat, she waits desperately for him to end his marriage, which he keeps promising to do. Kovacs, an undeniably talented actress in her mid-20s, makes this a highly theatrical performance piece about female victimization, like Jean Cocteau’s play The Human Voice. All the other characters, including the stepfather, are glimpsed only elliptically, and Sas frequently fades to red to make the whole thing look even artier. In Hungarian with subtitles. 90 min. (JR)

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