Adventure (Kaland): Film Review

Twist ending in Budapest period piece doesn't justify the interminable build-up.

Hungarian director/co-writer József Sipos tells s tale of 1940 Budapest which stars German actor Gerd Böckmann.

MONTREAL — An O'Henry punchline with an agonizingly dull setup, Adventure could easily have fit into a half-hour telefilm format without losing a note. The small screen would be more fitting for its soap opera-like performances, particularly that of Gerd Böckmann, whose laughable pomposity makes his co-stars look all the more inert. (Distractingly, the German actor is the only one in the cast whose dialogue is dubbed.) Import value is nil, though a couple of gorgeous old Budapest buildings do provide eye-candy while viewers' brains tune out.

Böckmann plays a retirement-age doctor in 1940 Budapest whose young wife is planning to run away with his protégé. The youngsters have planned to reveal their affair at a gala dedicating a new hospital wing, but, like Buñuel's bourgeoisie, they just can't make it happen: Director/co-writer József Sipos drags almost every scene of dialogue out two or three times as long as necessary, as if repeating the same stiff lines in new stiff ways will add drama. (Error-plagued subtitles don't help on this front.)

The old doc eventually comes out on top, after a fashion, but his long, poker-faced exposition makes it unclear whether he's relieved or broken-hearted. Only an extraneous subplot about his abandoned "life's work" allows Sipos to bring the tale to a close.

Venue: Montreal World Film Festival, Focus on World Cinema
Production Company: PCN Film Production
Cast: Gerd Böckmann, Erika Marozsán, Sándor Csányi, Károly Eperjes, Mari Töröcsik
Director: József Sipos
Screenwriters: József Sipos, Francisco Gozon, Gyorgy Somogyi
Producers: József Sipos, Krisztina Détár
Director of photography: Francisco Gozon
Music: Gábor Berkes 
Costume designer: János Breckl
Editor: Gabriella Koncz
Sales: PCN Film Production
No rating, 88 minutes

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