Zoltan Huszarik is a Hungarian filmmaker that I am not familiar with. He died in 1981 at the age of 50 from a suspected suicide and has been acclaimed as an auteur of the ‘European modern art film’ and if you viewed what is claimed to be his most influential movie, then I don’t think you would disagree. Szinbad (1971) is based on a series of 20th century short stories written by Gyula Krudy and said to be based on the author’s own life. It tells the story of a traveller and womaniser who revisits the women in his life. Szinbad (Zoltan Latinovits) is a man that has led a life of self-indulgence and indecency.
The film starts with a series of silent images. These images, the movies beautiful locations and the Hungarian dishes bedecked in oil are not so much shot by Sandor Sara’s camerawork as sucked up by it. Its surreal and abstract narrative moves from one woman to the next and from one season to another. It continues its romantic and somewhat morbid theme in rich vivid colours and along side its religious imaginary, sexual overtones and the director’s obsession with texture and objects, it’s a movie of infinite detail.
|Some of the women in Szinbad's life.|
This is reputed to be ‘the’ stand out film of Hungarian cinema. The only other film I am familiar with is rather incomprehensible The Turin Horse (2011) but Huszarik’s surreal movie bares not comparison with Bela Tarrs dirgeful cinematic experience. Made at the time of socialist politics in Hungary it emphasised the Bourgeoisie’s great wealth and decadence. An intriguing film that apart from some limited screenings in 1971/72 has remained largely unseen until its DVD release in 2011. Don’t miss an opportunity to see a rather unique movie.