A Hungarian Fairy Tale

Film, Fantasy

Time Out says

The fairytale in question is the legend of a giant bird that flies down to save Hungary, but Gazdag's film is less a reinvention of national myth than an attempt to get to the bottom of a typically communist paradox: the way that human impulses turn into inhuman pratices under the dead hand of bureaucracy. The bird turns up at the start in a TV cartoon; and reappears at the end to carry a little boy and his surrogate parents away from their troubles. In between, the film uses Mozart's Magic Flute to waft its way through the story of a young orphan searching for a father who was only ever a fictitious name on a birth certificate. Gazdag's approach has something in common with the 'magic realism' of Latin American novelists; he shoots in silvery black-and-white, and feels free to jump from social observation into areas of fantasy and absurdist humour. The result is undeniably distinctive, and the shifts in tone sometimes have a genuinely disconcerting punch; but basically, Gazdag is looking back nostalgically to earlier social fables like De Sica's Miracle in Milan than forward to the Hungary of the '90s.


Release details

97 mins

Cast and crew

Gyula Gazdag
Gyula Gazdag, Miklós Györffy
Arpád Vermes
Mária Varga
Frantisek Husák
Eszter Czákányi
Szilvia Tóth