Gulls and Gangsters

A neatly structured but, for international tastes, overly broad comedy about an unemployed loser who sets himself up as a professional fall guy, Peter Bacso's "Gulls and Gangsters" looks set for reasonable local business but will be limited to specialized cultural webs in terms of foreign sales. Bacso's easily digested satires have always shown a knack for spotting a political or social trend and translating it into exaggerated comedy. Political pics such as "The Witness" have found international acceptance; "Gangsters" however, which focuses on the Hungarian habit of always needing someone else to blame, is too locally themed to travel far.

With:
With: Antal Cserna, Anna Gyorgyi, Edit Vlahovics, Jozsef Czintos, Eva Mate, Gyorgy Melis.

After getting no thanks for trying to rescue a person attempting suicide, a shabby intellectual (Antal Cserna) decides to set himself in business as Dr. Scapegoat. His first client is a businessman who needs some breathing space to raise some money to cover the loss of a shipload of autos. Next up is another rich guy who asks him to seduce his wife so he can discover them together and thus regain his sexual potency.

When Scapegoat mistakenly seduces the baby sitter rather than the man’s wife, the case ends in chaos, and Scapegoat is thrown in jail on a charge of embezzlement from his first assignment. There, he meets the mysterious Basiliscus, who helps him get out and set up an import-export business. That, too, goes horribly wrong when it’s revealed Basiliscus is using him to run arms and drugs.

Cserna is well cast as the never-say-die loser who never learns from his mistakes, and the rest of the cast is peppered with the usual fruitily drawn Bacso characters easily recognizable to local auds. Lensing is a step down from the helmer’s usual high standards, with unattractive color processing that takes some shine off the proceedings. Other tech credits are smooth.

Gulls and Gangsters

Hungarian

Production: An Uj Dialog Studio, Producer Studio, Cinema Film production. Produced by Jozsef Gombar, Gabor Garami. Directed, written by Peter Bacso.

Crew: Camera (color), Tamas Andor; editor, Eva Karmento; music, Gyorgy Vukan; art direction, Tamas Vayer; costume design, Edit Zeke; sound, Gyorgy Kovacs. Reviewed at Hungarian Film Week, Budapest, Feb. 11, 1997. Running time: 103 MIN.

With: With: Antal Cserna, Anna Gyorgyi, Edit Vlahovics, Jozsef Czintos, Eva Mate, Gyorgy Melis.

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