EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|DELTA (director/writer: Kornél Mundruczó; screenwriter: Yvette Biro; cinematographer: Matyas Erdely; editor: David Jancso; music: Gabor Balazs; cast: Félix Lajkó (Mihail), Orsi Tóth (Fauna), Lili Monori (Mother), Sándor Gáspár (Mother's lover); Runtime: 92; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Philippe Bober/Viktória Petrányi; Facets Video; 2008-Hungary/Germany-in Hungarian with English subtitles)|
about Eastern European misery and incest along the Danube, that's
semi-interesting without being interesting."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Mundruczó ("Johanna"/"Pleasant Days") helms a gloomy fable about Eastern European misery and
incest along the Danube, that's semi-interesting without being
interesting. It's cowritten by Mundruczó
and Yvette Biro, who evoke Old Testament unforgiving responses to
questions about judgment and sin. It reminds one in its visuals, slow
pace and sparse dialogue of a film by his fellow countryman Béla
Tarr (mentioned in the opening credits), but lacks the ideas and
purpose to otherwise compare favorably.
A hirsute and laconic young man named Mihail (Félix Lajkó), who is financially independent, takes a ferry home to a remote delta on
the Danube, after many years away. His sullen mom (Lili Monori), who lives with her burly
lover (Sándor Gáspár), who the stepson never met before, tells
him there's no room in the house. So Mihail takes off to the isolated delta waterway
to live in his late father's abandoned cabin and his spindly sister
Fauna (Orsi Tóth),
someone he's a stranger to, tags along to spend the night with him.
Mihail then builds his dream house there and his sister moves in with
him, as the two gentle outsiders fall in love. Mom's surly lover
detests Mikhail and rails against this relationship, and in anger rapes
his stepdaughter (which we see as a blur from a great distance).
Meanwhile the local pub dwellers stare coldly at the mystery man when
he comes to mom's bar to swill brandy. The couple of childlike
innocents are not concerned about the incest, but the locals can't let
it go as the film builds to its foreboding Straw Dogs like climax of
how the villagers respond like animals to a house warming.
Its best asset is the
stunningly beautiful photography of the river scenes by
Mátyás Eldély. When all else failed to develop,
except for a lasting sense of sadness, at least the tranquility of the
river was well-worth looking at.
The arthouse film won the Fipresci Prize at Cannes and the Grand Prize and Critics Award at Hungarian Film Week.
REVIEWED ON 3/10/2010 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ