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Lovefilm, the early masterwork from acclaimed Hungarian director István Szabó (Mephisto, Sunshine) is a film with an exuberance and passion that matches its subject. "Love is only half of our happiness," observes beautiful Kata to her childhood sweetheart turned adult lover, Jansci, "the other half is what we do." In Lovefilm, Szabó delicately weaves together Jansci's decades-spanning reminiscences and observations about Kata. As children in pre-WWII Budapest, Jansci and Kata are inseparable. Every schoolyard challenge and capricious adult expectation they face together only serves to strengthen their bond. But later, the misery and upheaval that arrives in the wake of the invading Nazi army succeeds in separating them. Reunited by chance as teenagers, adolescent love ignites between the two just in time for the riots, insurrection and occupation that tore Hungary apart in the mid-fifties. Rejecting Communist rule, Kata emigrates to France while Jansci reluctantly chooses to remain in war-scarred Budapest. Their lengthy correspondence culminates in Jansci's visit to Kata's home in Lyon. Reunited as adults, they must unpack their mutual fascination with their shared past and each other in order to discover whether the courses their lives take will keep them together or force them apart. Lovefilm's novelistic kaleidoscope interprets Jansci's reminiscences with a direct, clear-eyed sensitivity that recalls the early work of French New Wave icons like Alain Resnais and François Truffaut. The cascade of details -- of life and death in Budapest between, during and after the wars, of limbo and longing within an expatriate Hungarian community in the south of France -- coupled with Szabó's audacious visualization of Jansci's sense of nostalgia makes for an unforgettable viewing experience.

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KI2242 Love Film DVD (1970/Istvan Szabo) $29.95 $26.99