Title: A Rózsa Énekei (Rose's Song)
Length: 98 mins
Starring: Franco Castellano, Djoko Rosic, Maia Morgenstein and Ildikó Bánságii
Director: Andor Szilágyi
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genre(s): Drama / WWII
Studio: Bunyik Entertainment
Country of Origin: Hungary
Produced in: 2003
In late 1944, the Hungarian national socialistic Arrow Cross party was in charge of their country. It is during this background that the movie, based on a real story, is set. Géza Halász and his family moved in with the famous countertenor Imre Rozsa. Géza lost his job as engineer at a factory, due to the war and his religion. Imre, being a friend of the family (Géza's father payed for Imre's first singing lessons), agreed to take the Halász family in his villa in the hills of Budapest. He can easily take care for the family. Over time, more people arrive to seek refuge, and, while Imre hides out up in his tower, Géza assures the refugees that it's allright.
As the movie progresses, the everyday World War II life of refuging jews slowly unfolds. A forbidden love between Géza's oldest daughter and a non-jew neighbour. A love triangle. Géza trying to teach his son, Tomi, to defend himself. The whole film breaths an atmosphere of both depression and hope. Never give up. Tomi is under the impression, thanks to an other refugee, that the will live only as long as they can hear Imre sing in the evening. But in the beginning, Imre never sang. After a while, Géza gathers the family, and they hear Imre sing from the tower. No words, just a long line of vocals, filled with pure emotion.
While the film is generally quite interesting, there is no major storyline, except the daily struggle of the family. No particular point is emphasized to an extent it overshadows the other points. All is in balance. But that can also be an annoyance for people that want a story with one fixed storyline. But, in my opinion, this is much better. A focus on a certain aspect has been done and overdone too many times. This film shows life, not just a small aspect thereof.
The background setting, nazi controlled Hungary, is not just a background, made for fake interesting purpose. It actually influences and controls the story in a delicate manner. The person who's always there, but never met by anyone but Géza is Imre. He supposedly locked himself in his tower when the kids arrived, but at the end of the film, the truth comes out. When viewing the movie again, the preparations for this twist are very clear all of a sudden, but only if you know what twist is coming.
My favorite character of this film was grandpa Halász. He never lost hope, keeps on being grumpy in a funny way, and is just a very friendly man. It actually saddened me that he had to die in the end, even though he felt it coming, and had his peace with it.
The story's end is quite open; in the last scenes Tomi brings back a mirror and an old bible home, while the Russian 'liberators' have killed one of the jews, and are parting. The final shot is one of a fly that got smashed in the bible, zooming in untill the screen goes black from the fly's body.
All in all this is a delicate and very nice movie. Nothing fast paced, no action scenes, no bullshit. Definitely something to see.