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Cold Days
Hideg napok
dir. András Kovács / Hungary 1966 / 96’
subtitles: Polish and English
Golden Era of Hungarian Cinema

Cast

Zoltán Latinovits, Iván Darvas, Ádám Szirtes, Tibor Szilágyi, Margit Bara

Film description

A bold reckoning of the Fascist episode in Hungarian history. Right after WWII, four men await in a cell to be judged by a popular tribunal. The prisoners are accused of ethnic cleansing of the Serb population in the Hungarian-occupied Vojvodina in January 1942. Each of them - a captain of the Hungarian army, a station master, a young officer and a soldier ordered to sink dead bodies in the Danube - was only obeying someone else's orders and each of them has become a scapegoat forced to cover for his unnamed superiors. Forced to accept responsibility for the crimes and confronted with poignant testimonies of witnesses, the convicts are stigmatised with a feeling of personal moral defeat.

In a documentary style, the concentrated and attentive András Kovács and the author of the original literary work Tibor Cseres, told a story about one out of so many tragedies of WWII, not fearing to indicate their countrymen among the guilty. With their rigid form and visual asceticism, Cold Days is among the most distinguished Hungarian films, presenting the tragedy of a man entangled in history and reduced to a powerless victim of forces he cannot control - no matter whether he is among murdered civilians or among torturers condemned to death.

Rafał Syska

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