Thursday, February 19, 2004

Daunting refrain

Movie: Gloomy Sunday

Posted on Thu, Feb 19, 2004 at 4:00 AM

****
Gloomy Sunday
Studio: Menemsha
Release Date: 2004-02-20
WorkNameSort: Gloomy Sunday
Our Rating: 4.00

Shown last October as part of the Central Florida Jewish Film Festival, this speculative drama lays out the possible origin of a haunting hit song that allegedly moved more than 150 listeners to commit suicide in the 1930s. Here, the tune is the creation of a Hungarian pianist who's also involved in a self-destructive love triangle with a dark-haired beauty and the restaurateur who employs them both. With a restraint that only adds to its ultimate power, the movie slowly reveals its true area of inquiry: the march of the Third Reich up to this preoccupied trio's doorstep. If it sounds unfocused, it isn't: Director/co-writer Rölf Schöbel's tight, philosophically sound narrative shows the essential relation of nationalist offenses to personal demons like lust, envy and blind resentment.

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