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Critical Acclaim Heaped on Hungarian “Masterpiece” at BJFF

Wearing the mantle of acclaim that adorned “Son of Saul,” this year’s Hungarian must-see Holocaust film is much less graphic, yet equally devastating. Now playing at dozens of theaters around the country, “1945” has been getting equally enthusiastic press, including being named one of the ten best films of the year by J. Hoberman of the Village Voice, among others. Not one of the best Jewish films, mind you. One of the best films, period.

Tickets are still available for the 1:00 pm, Sunday, March 18 screening in the Dairy’s Gordon Gamm Theater. CLICK HERE

 

It’s a good bet that the director had High Noon in mind when he made this film, but the comparison ends there. As a compact study of wartime guilt, the film has the look and feel of a waking nightmare. – Christian Science Monitor

A Holocaust film built, consciously or not, on a reversal of the tropes of the western, down to ticking clocks that might as well be nearing high noon. – NY Times

A fresh, intelligent cinematic approach to a difficult topic that takes on a transitional time in Hungarian history with subtlety and nuance. – Variety

The movie’s denouement is indelible. – Film Comment Magazine

Mesmerizing, quietly moving, and enthralling. It’s one of the best films of the year. – NYC Movie Guru

Simple, powerful, made with conviction and skill, “1945” proceeds as inexorably as Samuel and his son on their long walk into town. It’s a potent messenger about a time that is gone but whose issues and difficulties are not even close to being past. – LA Times

1945” is a real masterpiece, heightened by the end of the film when we, the audience and the villagers, understand the real mission of these two Orthodox Jews. It’s a rare moment where one of Judaism’s most important contributions to the world, that of guilt and remorse over moral wrong doings and the sanctity of life, are presented in such a heart wrenching way on film. – Abe Foxman

ABOUT THE FILM:

Based on the acclaimed short story “Homecoming” by Gábor T. Szántó

On a summer day in 1945, an Orthodox man and his grown son return to a village in Hungary while the villagers prepare for the wedding of the town clerk’s son. The townspeople – suspicious, remorseful, fearful, and cunning – expect the worst and behave accordingly. The town clerk fears the men may be heirs of the village’s deported Jews and expects them to demand their illegally acquired property back.

Director Ferenc Török paints a complex picture of a society trying to come to terms with the recent horrors they’ve experienced, perpetrated, or just tolerated for personal gain. A superb ensemble cast, lustrous black and white cinematography, and historically detailed art direction contribute to an eloquent drama that reiterates Thomas Wolfe’s famed sentiment: you can’t go home again.

About Kathryn Bernheimer

Director of Menorah: Arts, Culture and Education at the Boulder JCC. The former film and theater critic for the Boulder Daily Camera, Kathryn is the author of "The Fifty Greatest Jewish Movies" and "The Fifty Funniest Films of All Time."

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