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A Nagy Füzet 2013
Description: In a village on the Hungarian border, two young brothers grow up during fight time with their cruel grandmother and gotta learn each trick of evil to survive in the absurd globe of adults.
Released: 19 Sep 2013 Director: János Szász Writers: Tom Abrams (dramaturge), Agota Kristof (novel), András Szekér (screenplay), János Szász (script) Actors: László Gyémánt, András Gyémánt, Piroska Molnár, Ulrich Thomsen Genres: Drama, War
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A Nagy Füzet Reviews:

The Notebook starts as Globe Fight II is winding down. As an ally of Nazi Germany and part of the Axis Powers Hungary is on the losing end. The film focuses on two young twin men (András and László Gyémánt), whose names we never learn. They are 12 when the film starts in the summer of 1944 and 13 when the film ends in the summer of 1945.To ensure their security their parents (Gyöngyvér Bognár and Ulrich Matthes) zone them in the care of the woman's mother, who lives in the countryside running a tiny farm. The trouble is the grandmother (Piroska Molnár) has not seen her daughter in 20 years and clearly has a very weak opinion of her. At the end of the film she is surprised her daughter (after dying in a shell explosion) even had a husband. She is a mean old girl who's rumored to have poisoned her husband and the film helps this conjecture. The villagers call her "the Witch." At the beginning of the film the men hate her because she keeps calling them bastards and is very mean to them. It's clear her grudge vs her daughter is carried over to her grandsons to whom she shows no love nor warmth.The men transform from normal kids into two human beings who have hardened themselves both physically and psychologically to deal with the rapidly deteriorating case in Hungary. They nonchalantly watch both their mother and baby sister receive blown to bits (largely their fault) and they cunningly watch their father die crossing a minefield (entirely their fault). No remorse is shown. At the end of the film they go their separate ways, from being inseparable twins to purposely separating themselves.To tell the men morph into creatures is not quite accurate. By the end they bear a grudging respect for their grandmother and support her in dying after she's had a second stroke. They avenge an old Jewish boy who's shown kindness to them by blowing the face off a cute maid who turned him in to the authorities. So it's hard to tell that they've gone all the method from innocent men to out-and-out psychopaths.The film makes it clear the boys' transformation stems from the barbarous and irrational ordeal they are forced to endure from another folks and from the Fight itself. They have had to survive the fall of Hungary. The German Units has pulled out as represented by the Waffen SS German Officer who departs abruptly and who's shown a homosexual interest in them. The Hungarian Units has fallen into tatters as represented by the Hungarian soldier the men stumble upon frozen and starved to death. And the Soviet Units is rolling into Hungary raping any woman or girl they can receive their hands on, like Hairlip (Orsolya Tóth). About the Soviets there's a caption that says: Welcome the liberators. They've come to take all you own. When a priest is surprised that the twins know their Ten Commandments, one of the men comments: The Fifth Commandment tells Thou Shalt Not Kill. But everyone kills.The Notebook should have used a brief introductory prologue to familiarize the viewer in more depth with the political context. Example: By 1944 the Second Globe Fight was rapidly being lost by the Axis Powers and Hungary, as an ally of the Axis Powers represented chiefly by Nazi Germany, was on the losing side. Few times in 1944 the Hungarian dictator, Admiral Horthy, sought to negotiate a separate peace with the Allies to pull Hungary out of the fight but was unsuccessful. Under the direct orders of Adolf Hitler, in the autumn of 1944 the German Units (Wehrmacht) and the Waffen SS took over full control of the conduct of the fight in Hungary but by the winter of 1945 Budapest, the capital of Hungary, surrendered to the rapidly advancing Soviet forces and the government of Hungary collapsed in total defeat.The Notebook is also a truly gripping and strong movie, but definitely not for those who prefer to avoid the realities of life and who like nice, cheery, feel-good stories. Also not for those who like blow-'em-ups/shoot-'em-ups. Many of the scenes are very brutal and very intense. This film will create you ponder in depth the inhumanity and abject cruelty some humans do to another humans. And it's still going on out there in spades in many parts of the world. The twin men in The Notebook were not adults. The horrors of fight twisted their minds forever. I hope this film will create us think more deeply about the result fight can have on people―physically, psychologically, and emotionally―and how fight can be stopped.The acting was well done and convincing and the cinematography contributed to the feel of Hungary at that time. This film deserves to be watched.I'll end my review by telling what I told as a wrap-up in 12 Years A Slave. It's not for everyone.9/10PS: I saw this film at the Hungarian Movie Festival held at the Laemmle NoHo 7 on Lankershim Blvd in North Hollywood, California USA.


In one of the most remarkable scenes of 'The Notebook', twin 12 year old brothers methodically, coldly trade punches. Every swings at the other, and then stands still, face expressionless, as he receives a slew of punches back. Gradually the punches are harder, and eventually they begin using belts to ratchet up then pain threshold. They are kids but this is no game: they are toughening up, physically and psychologically, to survive the war. They have realized that cuddling together and wishing the fight away will not save them, and they better be prepared for hunger, pain, betrayal and everyday humiliations. And survive they do, although they decide that in order to do so they gotta blackmail priests, steal from corpses, bully their grandmother and plant explosives in someone's kitchen. The director competently handles deep staging and the test of long lens, very apt for the emotional distance the storyline takes with regards to the acts it depicts. The movie works in huge part because of the performance of László Gyémánt and András Gyémánt, true life twins, who give a stupendously restrained, controlled performances, often consisting solely of intense stares and vengeful glances. Color is mostly bleached out, melody is sparse and some of the greatest moments consist of static, unnervingly long shots. The movie is set in a tiny village straddling the Austro-Hungarian border during globe fight two. But it is not particularly interested in providing context of the war, or of Hungary's poor plight in it, or in Nazism or in any another features of the historical setting. So don't expect to learn much about globe fight 2 in this movie as it is merely the backdrop to a storyline that is really about survival and what happens to children's moral compass during war.Hungarian movies are their own sub-genre. Perhaps no another country has produced such consistently bleak films, soaked in pessimism and mostly focused on moral corruption and confusion. This tiny gem of a movie is yet other example of this cinematic tradition. This is not quite at the lvl of masterpieces such as 'Come and See'or 'Time of the Drunken Horses', my two favourite movies about childhood during wartime, but absolutely deserves to be seen, or, to be more precise, endured.


jkbonner1 has written an perfect and in-depth review of the movie, all I would like to add is that this is the first and only film that I have ever seen that I think succeeds in realistically portraying the devastating human aspects of WWII on a private lvl without resorting to sentimentalism or nostalgia. Although gruesome with plenty of disturbing scenes, it is not grotesque. For me the only film that comes close would be Apocalypse Actually - which is, of course, a very various film but I think related in that both give a glimpse of the inhumanity and insanity of war. I also really admired about the film that each key hero undergoes a finished transformation - it presents us with an initial case where it seems obvious who is in the right and who is "evil", and succeeds in turning everything upside down by the end of the movie, including our own definitions of right and wrong and nice and evil. The film does of course have some inconsistencies, some scenes appear highly unlikely and the men seem to meet with each misfortune imaginable. But I think such criticism is beside the point. Through the eyes of the men we are shown happenings that did happen over and over again to thousands of people. And in the end it is up to us to consider what is "good", whether we have a right to judge any of the characters in the movie, and given such circumstances how much of our own humanity and values should any of test have maintained? BTW I signed up to IMDb just to be able to share these thoughts with you about this film :-) and I "look forward to" one day reading the ebook the film is based upon (Agota Kristof: Le grand cahier).



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