The year 1956 marked a turning point in Hungarian history, and “56 Drops of Blood” honors it with an extravaganza of over-the-top pop patriotism. Effectively a filmed arena show, pic condenses director Attila Bokor’s musical celebration of the student-led uprising (which ultimately resulted in tragedy when Russian tanks rolled back into Budapest) into a “Romeo & Juliet”-style story of star-crossed lovers martyred in the streets — one a handsome Hungarian youth, the other the daughter of an occupying Soviet commander. Bombastic stadium show, which opened Oct. 26 for a limited L.A. run, will appeal almost exclusively to expats.
Seen from a priest’s perspective, overwrought staging lends these sacred, emotionally charged historical events all the kitsch pageantry of a Super Bowl halftime show, complete with flashy pyrotechnics and headset microphones. Even the editing suggests a televised spectacle, dynamically cutting between angles (footage itself was captured over multiple live performances). Music, by Omega composer Tamas Milhaly, ranges across a variety of styles, from Andrew Lloyd Webber-like ballads to full-blown rock anthems. Spoken dialogue has been dubbed into English, while songs — with lines like “They will never oppress me!” — remain in their original language.