1945

August 12, 1945. As Arpad and Kisrozxsi prepare to marry, Japan is being bombed and the Soviets are poised at the Manchurian border. Hungarian postwar trepidation centers on two Orthodox Jews, the Samuels, who’ve returned to the village accompanying two trunks which may or may not contain perfume and cosmetics to restock their pharmacy which, along with all other Jewish possessions and property, had been confiscated and redistributed during World War II. So the panic ensues as flames are fanned with suspicions: what do they want here? Gnawing guilt causes some to ponder giving back their homes, others want to defy and deny any request that may be forthcoming, as the two men walk slowly through the streets. Director Ferenc Török’s film evokes the horror and suspense of John Carpenter’s The Fog as some unseen retribution awaits, and there’s that element from Bad Day for Black Rock ever present as some undefined shame resonates throughout the black & white shots of a wedding celebration temporarily on hold.

[NR]