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Twenty Hours
Húsz óra
dir. Zoltán Fábri / Hungary 1965 / 120’
subtitles: Polish and English
Golden Era of Hungarian Cinema


Antal Páger, János Görbe, Emil Keres, Ádám Szirtes, Teri Horváth

Film description

One of the first Hungarian films confronting the communist totalitarianism of the 1940s and 1950s. A young journalist resolves to find out the reasons for a murder of an agricultural farm employee, killed eight years before. To do this, he comes to the crime scene and he spends the title's twenty hours questioning witnesses of the tragedy, who are still alive: an ex-count, a communist activist, a director of an agricultural cooperative, the parents of the victim and of the murderer. The conversations and retrospectives staged by the director reveal a world of political and philosophical conflicts which brought about a fratricidal conflict among friends. The reasons were collectivisation at first, and then Stalinist repressions, denunciations, and the 1956 revolution.

With a single village as an example and referring to the narrative form of Orson Welles' Citizen Kane, Zoltan Fábri tells a story about his motherland without educative tones and without judging the dramatis personae. Instead, he depicts methods of operation of a totalitarian state, where denunciation, exciting hatred and revenge, promoting conformism and career-oriented opportunism were used to control the nation.

Rafał Syska



Zoltán Fábri

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