HPPUB MOVIE REVIEW of An American Rhapsody

 

Title: An American Rhapsody

Release Date:  2001

Nationality and Language: USA,/Hungary , English and Hungarian

Running time: about 100 Minutes

MPAA Rating:  PG-13

Distributor and Production Company: Paramount Classics: Seven Arts, Fireworks Pictures

Director; Writer: Eva Gardos

Producer:

Cast:   Mastassja Komski (Margit), Tony Goldwyn (Peter), and Scarlett Johansson as the teenage Suzanne, and Agi Banfalvy and Zoltan Seress.

Technical:  1.8 to 1; Digital

Relevance to HPPUB site: historical perspectice on freedom

Review: AN AMERICAN RHAPSODY, from Paramount Classics, Seven Arts and Fireworks Pictures, directed and written by Eva Gardos, starring Mastassja Komski (Margit), Tony Goldwyn (Peter), and Scarlett Johansson as the teenage Suzanne, and Agi Banfalvy and Zoltan Seress.  This film (written in 1998 but released in 2001) is almost an accidental sequel to Sunshine. It tells a linear story over ten years: parents Peter and Margit flee Communist Hungary in the mid 50s for California, and are forced by the danger to leave their infant daughter (Suzanne) behind with grandparents. Eventually Suzanne gets a visa to join them but has difficulty understanding why she was uprooted, The story indeed pays homage to “conservative” ideas linking family to freedom and anti-Communism, and adult politics and intertwined with the sensitive issues of growing up. There are terrific lines, as when a neighbor asks if Suzanne is that “Communist kid” and later when Peter explains to Suzanne that he really loved book publishing (when showing her a copy of Mark Twain’s (Samuel Clemens’s) Tom Sawyer) and implies that he learned aircraft mechanics to support a family, and maybe because there was no free speech under Communism. The on-location scenes of Suzanne’s visit to Budapest in 1965 are breathtaking, with the impressive but troubled city showing through the cold mist, leading to the scenes of begging in the streets.  The early scenes in the film are shot in old-fashioned black-and-white, and very effectively, though not with the harshness of Schindler’s List (1993).

 

Related reviews: Sunshine

 

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