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LOVEFILM / SZERELMESFILM (1970)

By István Szabó

I adore this film, and his previous film Father – the two are sort of a dyptych – they share actors, characters, and themes. If I tell you it’s about the political history of Hungary during/after WW2 and how that affected the love of a couple who knew each other from childhood, you might want to take a nap instead, and that doesn’t get to how groundbreaking this is! This film always reminded me to try to be braver in my storytelling, as it’s a river of concrete moments, mostly memories, fragments unexplained and repeated, odd pieces of one’s life. It all builds to a very emotional, sharable, sometimes funny story. Maybe what I love most is its commitment to the mystery and hugeness of the small and concrete. And it showed me how a story built of real personal histories, interwoven with larger histories, can feel magical and strange - not ponderous. Oh, how could I leave this for last; it’s the best film about memory, you experience how fleeting, repetitive, odd, fragmentary and yet totally world-shaping our memories are.

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