It opens with a suicide and ends with a birth - the second child of a brother-sister love affair. So Forbidden Relations is a film of illicit passions haunted by fears of insanity and the strictures of state morality. But don't expect high melodrama, or indeed a panting, prettified art house parable: this is spare social realism from Hungary, with a young widow falling for a returning ex-con whom she later learns is her half-brother. Feckless in the eyes of their rural community but obstinately faithful to their amour fou, the couple wind up in jail, despite the compassion of police and magistrates required to implement the law. Controversial and courageous in its home country, largely because of the humanist warmth Kézdi-Kovács brings to the subject; but despite the vigorous earthiness of the sexuality on display, this is a rather too muted, meandering attack on the ancient taboo.
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