A picaresque portrait of village life through the filter of a dysfunctional family and its histrionic head, "We Live Only Once" doesn't add much to the existing library of Central Euro rural yarns. Familiar raft of characters and activities equips this for an afterlife on the small screen at best.

A picaresque portrait of village life through the filter of a dysfunctional family and its histrionic head, “We Live Only Once” doesn’t add much to the existing library of Central Euro rural yarns. Familiar raft of characters and activities equips this for an afterlife on the small screen at best.

It’s summer outside the city, and the Balogh family is idling along in neutral, with a promiscuous mother (Juli Basti), two teen daughters (Ilona Nagy, Terez Vass) who are hot to trot and an elder bro who herds cows and is in another solar system. The last thing they need is their loony, drunken father (Jozsef Szarvas) to reappear, back from hospital (and presumed death) following multiple operations. Pic is less a narrative than a series of lightly comical situations as the father hobbles round spreading chaos, followed by his younger son, the only one in the family still entranced by his antics. A broader comic tone would have helped the movie, which ambles along with little point but much copulation and beer consumption. Perfs are adequate but uninvolving.

We Live Only Once

(HUNGARY)

Production

An Objektiv Filmstudio/Magyar Televizio production, in association with MMK, ORTT, NKA. (International sales: Objektiv, Budapest.) Produced by Janos Rozsa. Directed by Gyorgy Molnar. Screenplay, Sandor Tar. Camera (color), Sandor Kardos; editor, Hajnal Sello; music, Laszlo Des; art director, Rita Devenyi. Reviewed at Hungarian Film Week, Budapest, Feb. 5, 2000. Original title: Egyszer elunk. Running time: 94 MIN.

With

With: Jozsef Szarvas, Juli Basti, Sandor Gaspar, Mari Csomos, Lujza Orosz, Eniko Borcsok, Gaspar Galgoczy, Szabolcs Hajdu, Ilona Nagy, Terez Vass.
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