MY TWENTIETH CENTURY
DIRECTOR: ENYEDI ILDIKO
COUNTRY: HUNGARY 1991
MUSIC: Vidovszky Loszlo (Nice classical passages)
CAST: Dorotha Segda (both sisters); Oleg Jankovskiy; Paulus Marker; Andorai Peter; Mate Gabor.
SUPER FEATURES: SURREALISTIC FILM.
There aren't many films made today that have a sense of wonder, of, what is all this about anyway?, and that keep you wondering what is all this leading to.
MY TWENTIETH CENTURY is one of those films. The best way I can explain it, is that it reminds me (A LOT, too) of Luis Bunuel's style of film making, which was surrealistic, and bounced from the person's mind to external action without any reason, or idea, but all based on the whimsical nature of the character, or characters, involved. Or the director's of course.
The only real theme, this enchanting and very curious film appears to have, is a small subplot, related to Thomas Edison, who is trying, nervously and once again, to prove to people that his telegraph is not a joke, and neither is it a ghost, or trickery, which, is very likely to have happened to him, by people who feared modern discoveries, or the unknown. This film plods along, never explaining anything, although it does have a story of sorts. There is a birth of two girls, twins, Lili and Dora, and they grow up to be separated after they were orphaned, and one has become a spinster and high class prostitute, while the other is a revolutionary ideologist. And a man, whose talents lie in writing, or studying the psychological behavior of people, through his observation of animals, happens to have had an affair with one of them. Along the way, he accidentally bumps into the other sister, whom he thinks is the original, and gets even with her by taking her to bed (he was robbed before), ... but in the end there is a sequence full of mirrors, where he gets a look at the two girls, while a voice talks, the seer of his thoughts, perhaps, or is it an alien form which has talked from the start, and plays with the stars, animals, the girls, and him.
And the film, shot in black & white, has an aura of wonder, like the films around the turn of the century did, which makes it really nice. The
film floats, easily along, while you wonder what is happening. Amidst all the visual scenes and events, you end up thinking things like this:
1. If this were a film around the beginning of the 20th century, then you would think you were seeing something which was alien.
2. The 20th century was the time when psychology took hold. (A sociology professor delivers a lecture to women on sexuality and psychology of.)
3. Do we like seeing 'floating' fantasies, instead of politics, or serious and meaningfull faire .? One of the sisters almost drops a bomb on a political figure, but she freezes at the last moment and keeps running off with the bomb in her hand. The fuse ends. The bomb never explodes.
4. And finally, if we are going to see something, give them something which they can never explain. Which was the main theme which led Salvador Dali, Luis Bunuel and Andre Bretton to create the surrealistic movement of art, starting with a manifesto, and a film, which had sequences which may or may not have matched to anything. It defied convention, and your ability to decipher any meaningfull understanding, except that it lived, on its own.
This film does.
The fun part of seeing this film is that you can not tell if it is being funny, weird, off the wall, or just plain serious. And it carries you all the way to the end, because it never goes back to explain anything, although it repeats three visual sequences that have each person 'listening' to the stars talk to them, much like people may have thought the telegraph would have done. In fact, this is the only real link it has, the only thread which makes any sense, and it also is the catchy theme, which makes this work, although it is a bit odd. We would have to be transplanted to
that time to 'feel' what the wonder was all about.
Nice film. A bit too artsy for those that like entertainment and a good escape or romance. This film is for the free thinkers of the world, and the real appreciators of the fine dialect of film, ... by a Hungarian artist with a surreal boot on his hand.
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