Starring: Joachim Krol, Erika Marozsan, Stefano Dionisi
and Ben Becker
Directed by: Rolf Shubel
German w/ Engilsh subtitles
Gloomy Sunday is absolutely beautiful. It's a period piece
set in Budapest about 1940 - so it's something to get it right
without the standard Universal backlot look. On top of a gloriously
detailed setting the cast, especially Erika Marozsan, genuinely
look as if they stepped from a time machine.
song Gloomy Sunday is real, and can still be heard today
in many different arrangements. Here, screenwriter Ruth Toma and
cowriter/director Rolf Schubel take Nick Barrow's fact riddled
best-selling novel of fiction behind the long lasting song and
spin it into a haunting melody of celluloid.
an old man arrives to Szabo restaurant to celebrate
his geburstag (birthday). He's all nostalgic for the place and
happy to see after all these years the name, Szabo, remains in
tribute to his old friend who ran the place when they were both
but as he asks for the restaurant's infamous "song"
to be played, while he spoons his fancy torte before him, he notice
a woman's photo from days long gone atop the piano. He fixes on
her eyes he suddenly falls dying to the ground. As he chokes for
life we all flashback to a happier time for he, and the original
owners of the small restaurant
are still at Szabo's and we are introduced to Ilona. She's an
independent life-loving woman happily assisting her boyfriend,
Laszlo Szabo (Joachim Krol) in his daily duties of running his
restaurant. They have a mutual respect and the affection is obvious.
mutual respect is tested when Lazslo hires a new pianist for the
place. A young handsome, solemn man named Andras (Stefano Dionasi).
Laszlo is a secure man
he hires this young upstart even though
it is immediately obvious his Ilona is a tad smitten and the musician
returns her favors. Ah, Bohemians...
a quiet German customer, Hans (Ben Becker) has gone and fallen
for the beauty as well
he goes so far as to ask her to marry
him. She sweetly declines and Mr. Overdramaticschnitzeloop tries
to kill himself. Laszlo
saves his life and promises Ilona will never know about his little
love faux pas.
departs home to Germany and Laszlo his left in the middle of a
more intimate triangle. His pianist friend has written a song,
'Gloomy Sunday', with Laszlo's assistance the song become in all-time
bestseller in Europe
There's a gloomy snafu however. It seems the song, which is melodic
and instrumental at the time, causes people to kill themselves;
or at least the song is playing beside the recently deceased in
too many cases to be considered coincidental.
makes sensitive Andras despair
the idea that his beautiful
song could drive people to death is simply unbearable. But he
also has to face the truth about Ilona; she just aint a one-man
trouble is brewing in the three-some's wacky - but workable -
word in Budapest, Hans is back to pepper their goulash
once quiet reserved nerd is now a powerful Nazi official - and
he's still smitten with Ilona. He has arrived in charge of "organizing"
the Jews of Budapest. The war is on its way there.
the war starts to affect the Jews of Budapest Hans assures Laszlo
- who by birth is indeed Jewish, though he doesn't practice -
no harm will come to him. Fear not - said the shark to the minow...eek.
story twists and turns and matter-of-factly shows how war changes
people, how love distorts your mind, and how desire can become
an obsession in a moment. Ultimately a love story that spans decades
Gloomy Sunday is one of the most moving films I've seen
all year. Erika Marozsan radiates and Joachim Krol plays Laszlo
with such a deep intuition even through subtitles he will break
speaking? Director Rolf Schubel has created a beautiful flowing
love story filled with the good, the bad and the damnable in humanity.
And Gloomy Sunday has just enough fairy dust to transport
you back to Budapest 1940.
Recommendation: Goulash mit spatzle und kase.