Dir. Zoltán Huszárik, 1971
Hungary, 90 min.
In Hungarian with English subtitles
A singular work of unparalleled, intoxicating beauty, SZINDBÁD is one of cinema's greatest hidden gifts. The titular character is a charming, dying casanova reflecting on his romantic escapades with various women. As he inches closer and closer to the oblivion, every past love ignites a different memory.
Driven more by atmosphere than a linear narrative, the film is told through a series of flashbacks that interweave and overlap in a gorgeous tapestry of colors, seasons, and moods. Utilizing his experimental film background, Huszárik creates something wholly original in narrative cinema that effectively predates the elliptical editing of Nicholas Roeg and the ornate visual romanticism of Terrence Malick. Indeed, the film is loaded with so much rich symbolism and lush imagery that it takes several viewings to unpack its mysteries and majesty.
Above everything, though, Huszárik taps into a deeply romantic, deeply personal sensibility that simply envelops the viewer into its own unique universe.
The phrase 'lost masterpiece' tends to get thrown around a lot in repertory film circles, but we're going to go out on a limb here and proclaim SZINDBÁD a lost masterpiece. We think you'll agree. Hyperbole be damned.
"A unique experience unlike any other in modern cinema." -Second Run DVD
"To describe SZINDBÁD as one of the most beautiful films in cinema history only comes across as breathless hyperbole to those who haven't yet seen" -Michael Brooke (Sight & Sound)
"Dazzling employs a style of widescreen colour, rapid montage, and eroticism in early 20th-century settings with such unbridled abandon and originality that its hard to believe we could have been completely unaware of such a film in the 70s" -Jonathan Rosenbaum
"There's so many ideas that [;;Huszárik];; was using that haven't really been utilized by other filmmakers. How'd he get that sense of alchemy into a film and that magic? It's quite rare to find that in films when you do get this sense of absolute wonder. Not just in terms of what you're seeing on the screen, but also in terms of 'Wow, this is what we can do. There's still so far to go. And this was done in 1971.' When you watch the film, there's no going back it just changes the language for you. I know it sounds pretentious but you can't ignore what is on that film." -Peter Strickland (THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY, BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO)
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