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Europe Is Far Away

(Hungarian dialogue)

(Hungarian dialogue)

“Europe Is Far Away” is a kidpic with a political edge — the thinly documented but still continuing migrations of people across Central Europe. Story of a 10-year-old Romanian boy who moves via Hungary to Bavaria, this is a solidly made work that could find time on discerning Eurowebs and educationally slanted cable channels.

It’s also the last completed script of Imre Gyongyossy, who died May 1 last year, aged 64, of kidney failure following a heart operation. Briefly imprisoned during the early ’50s, Gyongyossy was a co-founder with names like Istvan Szabo and Janos Rozsa of the experimental Bela Balazs Studio, later directing pix like “Palm Sunday” and 1983 Oscar nom “The Revolt of Job.” Since the ’70s, he collaborated consistently with his wife Katalin Petenyi and partner Barna Kabay.

Main character is Petru (Levente Tamasi), forced to flee Romania in 1989 with his parents when Ceausescu’s secret police give Petru’s veterinarian father a hard time. After a dangerous journey across the border into Hungary, and thence smuggled in a lorry into Austria, the family is caught and put in a refugee camp , classified as economic refugees. When his parents (Geza Kaszas, Denissa Der) are allowed to travel on to Munich in advance, Petru skips the camp and sets out alone to join them in Bavaria.

Befitting a kidpic, the overall focus is squarely on the youngster, but the movie consistently sketches in the political and social forces at work in Central Europe — from a firebomb attack by Austrian skinheads on the refugee camp to authorities’ hard-nosed attitude toward migrants. There’s something here for adults interested in the region, as well as younger viewers.

Due to a last-minute financial glitch, pic was shot on video, but is currently being transferred to film. Tech credits are fine in all departments, and perfs solid, with Tamasi holding the screen as the kid.

Europe Is Far Away

(GERMAN-HUNGARIAN)

  • Production: A Satellit-Film, ZDF (Germany)/Europa 2000, Magyar Televizio, Duna TV (Hungary) production. Produced by Barna Kabay. Directed by Barna Kabay, Katalin Petenyi. Screenplay, Imre Gyongyossy, Petenyi.
  • Crew: Camera (color), Laszlo Zentay; editor, Petenyi; music, Ferenc Darvas; art direction, Vilmos Nagy; costume design, Janos Brekl; sound, Peter Pecsi. Reviewed at Hungarian Film Week, Budapest, Feb. 5, 1995. Running time: 105 MIN.
  • With: With: Levente Tamasi, Geza Kaszas, Denissa Der, Ferenc Zenthe, Hedi Temessy.
  • Music By: