Review: ‘Glamour’

Produced by Kornel Sipos, Ilona Grundman, Gerald W. Kruse.

Produced by Kornel Sipos, Ilona Grundman, Gerald W. Kruse.

Directed, written by Frigyes Godros. Camera (color), Sandor Kardos; editor, Maria Rigo; music, Laszlo Melis; art director, Gyula Pauer; costume designer, Janos Breckl. Reviewed at Hungarian Film Week, Budapest, Feb. 7, 2000. (Also in Berlin Film Festival — Panorama.) Original title: Glamour. Running time: 117 MIN.

With: Karoly Eperjes, Eszter Onodi, Gyorgy Barko, Antal Cserna, Katinka Cseke , Lajos Szucs, Janos Szirtes, Tamas Jakab, Miklos B. Szekely, Janos Derzsi, Istvan Fonyo, Jonas) Togay, Miklos Lang.

A corner-shop view of 80 years of Hungarian history through the eyes of a Jewish family, “Glamour” rapidly wears thin. Wearying “and next …” structure, and a visual style that throws in occasional flashy effects to no purpose, make this look like a pale copy of anecdotal neighborhood pics done by Istvan Szabo in the ’70s (“25, Fireman’s Street,” “Budapest Tales”). Despite sharing top prize at the 31st Hungarian Film Week, this five-years-in-the-works picture strained many foreign crix’ patience.

Story’s skein opens on Passover, just after the close of WWI, in the warm, protective bosom of the Vendel family’s furniture business. As various disruptive forces come and go over the years — Communists, rightists, WWII Germans, Russians, ’56 revolutionaries (“We were all friends for 10 days”), Western-style “freedom” — the narrator’s father, Imre (Karoly Eperjes), grows up and negotiates his family’s survival, at one point arranging for his Aryan German g.f. (Eszter Onodi) to go through a paper marriage and divorce to get around a Third Reich law against “mixed” marriages. Pic develops some substance in its central section, but final effect is unsettlingly so-what.

Glamour

(HUNGARY-GERMANY-SWITZERLAND)

Production

A Magyar Televizio, Focusfilm (Hungary)/Ilona Grundman Filmproduktion, Arts & Future Film Fabrik (Germany)/Cascadefilm (Switzerland) production. (International sales: S-media 2000, Budapest.)
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