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HUNGARIANS

Hungary, 1977 (MIFF 1979)

Director: Zoltán Fábri

The film is constructed in five movements, following the seasons Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn, and another Winter. The story is set in 1942-43.

A group of villagers are offered a one year contract of work on a farm in Germany. Four families and two single men accept the offer.

They arrive in Germany and are supervised by a German farmer and his steward, Bramer, who is of Hungarian origin. Nearby, a military camp holds French prisoners of war, and the Hungarians are warned not to get involved with the prisoners. As farm work gets under way, the labourers see other prisoners arrive — some deported Polish women and also some POW's from Russia. When two of the emaciated Russians collapse on the road, they and a German soldier who disobeys orders, are shot.

One Sunday, Brainer takes the Hungarians for an excursion to the seaside. The weather is miserable, so they shelter in a cabin, where they discover the body of a dead man. It is harvest time. One day a conflict arises between Brainer and one of the women, who claims that he is trying to pay her less than her due. A clash is averted by the news that one of their group has died. The remaining Hungarians resolve to return home. Here, call-up papers await the younger members of the group. It's winter, and after a last night in the tavern, they set out again — perhaps never to return from the holocaust of the war.

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