World Cinema

Gloomy Sunday — A Song of Love and Death/ Ein Lied von Liebe und Tod directed by Rolf Schübel

gloomy_sunday_front As someone might have guessed, the title takes from the most infamous suicide song in history – “Gloomy Sunday”, which was composed in Hungary in the 1930s; a composition that supposedly drove many to suicide.

This movie is a fictionalized account of the time of composition of the song. The song is central to the narrative – right down to the last twist in the tale. Two men – one rich and worldly restaurant owner, the other a young and struggling pianist fall in love with the same woman and she incredibly falls for both. This gives rise to a somewhat troubled threesome relationship united by the irresistible love that the two men have. Eventually the two men grow to respect and admire each other. In the meantime, the pianist composes “Gloomy Sunday”, an instant hit that propels both the composer and the restaurant to fame; but which starts to trigger the suicides as well. This troubles the composer who tries to understand the message that the song is trying to convey, almost as of it has become an independent identity of its own. That message is something that the viewer interprets in different ways at different times in the story.

But this is exactly when the Germans invade Hungary and the ‘Finalgloomysunday Solution’ begins to start its roll call. The three get caught in a game that ultimately proves beyond them. The story ends in a tragedy and ultimately in a revenge plot many decades in the making.

The movie is brought alive by some great acting. The plot never sags in its ability to deliver sudden twists and turns and it has romance, friendship, heroism, betrayals and tragedies mixed together. The characters are given enough flesh to make them well-rounded and believable. The two very different characters of the men is brought out well, as is the reason why she loves them both in different ways. Erika Marozsán as llona is fairly delectable her looks are enough to assure you that men can and will live and die for her. The last fifteen minutes or so in the movie, were for me, had some of the best moments, not to mention the surprise at the end.

This, incidentally holds the record for being the longest running movies of all times. I now know why!!


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