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Freedom’s Fury

Iron Curtain sport and politics are revisited in the fascinating though conventionally made docu “Freedom’s Fury,” a look back at the pressures applied by the Russians to the freedom-hungry Hungarians as crystallized in a controversial 1956 Olympic water polo match. Yarn was recently dramatized in the Hungarian-made feature “Children of Glory.” Inclusion of Lucy Liu and Quentin Tarantino among exec producers should aid this edifying though overlong effort in scoring fest and tube slots.

Iron Curtain sport and politics are revisited in the fascinating though conventionally made docu “Freedom’s Fury,” a look back at the pressures applied by the Russians to the freedom-hungry Hungarians as crystallized in a controversial 1956 Olympic water polo match. Yarn was recently dramatized in the Hungarian-made feature “Children of Glory.” Inclusion of Lucy Liu and Quentin Tarantino among exec producers should aid this edifying though overlong effort in scoring fest and tube slots.

While politics has often interfered with the Olympic Games, the literal bloodbath that erupted from the Hungary vs. Soviet Union water polo semifinal in Melbourne was a shock. Fifty years on, the Hungarian team and the surviving Russians tell their sides of the story. Narration by 1972 U.S. gold medalist Mark Spitz dives through extensive archival footage and the intricate politics of the time to shore up the facts. Major failing is an overly earnest tone and conservative format that makes docu feel as if it were made in the ’50s. Tech credits are fine. Film is credited to “the Sibs,” referring to the brother-sister duo of director and d.p., respectively.

Freedom’s Fury

  • Production: A Wolo Entertainment production, in association with Cinergi Pictures Entertainment. (International sales: Fortissimo Films, Amsterdam.) Produced by Kristine Lacey. Executive producers, Lucy Liu, Amy Sommer, Quentin Tarantino, Andrew G. Vajna. Co-producer, Thor Halvorssen. Directed, written by Colin K. Gray.
  • Crew: Camera (color/B&W), Megan Raney; editor, Michael Rogers; music, Les Hall. Reviewed at Hong Kong Film Festival (Reality Bites), March 25, 2007. Hungarian, Russian, English dialogue. Running time: 90 MIN.
  • With: <B>With:</B> Viktor Ageyev, Antal Bolvari, Janos Buk, Sandor Csoori, James Green, Dezso Gyarmati, Judith Gyenes, Istvan Hevesi.
  • Music By: