Budapest circa 1913 – “Sunset”-a brilliant, intriguing film by László Nemes

One of the better reviews on this film comes from Paul Whitington at where he writes:-

Laszlo Nemes’ sumptuously photographed drama is set in 1913 in Budapest, where the existential anxieties of the Austro-Hungarian Empire are embodied in the slender form of Irisz Leiter (Juli Jakab), a young woman with a dark past.

She bears the name of the city’s most stylish hat store, Leiter’s: her parents died there in a fire when she was two, and Irisz was raised elsewhere but now returns, looking for work, and answers.

Instead she finds secrets, a wall of silence, and dark rumours about a murderous brother she never knew she had.

Full of dark portents of the continental carnage to come, Sunset is Kafkaesque, melodramatic, enthralling.”

This is not an easy film to understand and it certainly is not in the usual genre of an historical film. Much is about the contrast between the superficial elegance and the arduous and dangerous conflicts beneath this attractive outward view. However, it has to be said that I very much enjoyed the visual presentation of the surface; the milliner’s store with its stupendous colourful hats and the horse drawn carriages. History crept in when a news-vendor announces that the Austro-Hungarian empire is to launch another battleship- jogging the memory that this primarily land locked empire held a port at Trieste. As I have yet to visit Budapest, although I have visited both Vienna and Bratislava, this area intrigues me. This point in time too is the subject to much of the concerns of the novels of Joseph Roth and the magnificent films of that other brilliant Hungarian director, from a previous generation, stván Szabó. Also, for good measure, the Empress Sisi arrives from Vienna in a somewhat grumpy personification.

Image result for laszlo nemes sunset

In thinking about this film, I remembered that the famous psychoanalyist, Melanie Klein was living in Budapest at this time. She received her psychoanalytic education with Sándor Ferenczi in Budapest during World War I. She specialized in his advice in child analysis and became one of the first in this field. I mention this because much of the film really deals with states of mind like confusion, exclusion and certain feminist attitudes. It is interesting to see what the film is saying about issues in the contemporary world and in its concentration upon one individual’s perceptions and their attempts to understand relationships with siblings, we seem to be in territory where Klein’s work is uniquely valuable. Here is her photograph wearing an elegant hat.

Image result for Melanie Klein in Budapest

A slideshow of Klein’s life and theories may be found at


Watching this film, one is reminded that the film-maker has stated that he has been influenced by Stanley Kubrick and indeed some of the themes do seem rather similar to those Kubrick examines in “91/2 Weeks”. This latter film was an adaptation, of course, of Arthur Schnitzler’s  “Traumnovelle” (Dream Story” but without the anti-anti-Semitic aspects of the earlier work which seems based upon Viennese secret societies.  




Sommerfenster zur Ewigkeit…

Schöne und sehr Süß

Das poetische Zimmer

Foto: ©Wolfregen


Juni, Holunder- und Rosenmond,
Unter den Bäumen ein Zauber wohnt,
Freunde, geht es euch ebenso?
Ich bin beides: traurig und froh.

Niemals im Jahr sonst, nichts eilt hinfort,
Fühl ich vergänglicher Zeit und Ort,
Sommerfenster zur Ewigkeit,
Alles grünt und atmet befreit.

Blühende Gärten im hellen Licht,
Liegend im Schatten die Stille spricht,
Tagtraum schimmert so süß und bleich,
Blauen Himmel spiegelt der Teich.

Sonne, was treibt dich nach Norden nun?!
Pan lässt am Mittag mein Herz nicht ruhn,
Stört ihn goldenes Flötenspiel?
Nie ist Sehnsucht näher am Ziel…


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Splitting the world in two: the 525th anniversary of the Treaty of Tordesillas

Fascinating and important too….

Tordesillas1 P. 1 of the Spanish version held at BNP (click to see enlarged)

The 7th June marks the 525th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Tordesillas. The treaty was named for the Castilian town near Valladolid where it was signed by the Catholic Kings (Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon) and John II, King of Portugal. The signing of this treaty divided those parts of the world newly “discovered” by Spain and Portugal between the empires of the two kingdoms along an imaginary meridian 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde islands. The lands to the east of this line corresponded to Portugal and those to the west to Spain.

The Treaty of Tordesillas had a precedent, the Treaty of Alcáçovas (1479), that followed the War of Castillan Succession, and already marked the division of the Atlantic into two spheres of influence, one…

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Oddballs of English Philosophy: Witcraft: The Invention of Philosophy in English by Jonathan Rée

Sounds like an interesting read. Philosophy does seem to have different connotations in different languages/cultures.

Feral Philosophy

“Despite the disarming glee of this intellectual romp, [Jonathan] Rée doesn’t quite banish the thought that, for the English, philosophy is what history was to Henry Ford, bunk — a notion clinched by T.S. Eliot’s portrait of Bertrand Russell as Mr Apollinax, wittering incomprehensibly and laughing like an irresponsible foetus at his own wit.”

From “Oddballs of English Philosophy” a Book Review by Stuart Jeffries in The Spectator.

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The Spring by Ezra Pound

The Spring
By Ezra Pound










CYDONIAN spring with her attendant train,
Maelids and water-girls,
Stepping beneath a boisterous wind from Thrace,
Throughout this sylvan place
Spreads the bright tips, 5
And every vine-stock is
Clad in new brilliancies.
And wild desire
Falls like black lightning.
O bewildered heart,
Though every branch have back what last year lost, 10
She, who moved here amid the cyclamen,
Moves only now a clinging tenuous ghost.


Medium Well Done: 8 Crayons, oil pastels, and more

The Eclectic Light Company

Professional painters have long used brushes to apply paint for their finished work, but many used hand-held sticks of pigment only when sketching in preparation. Charcoal was widely used at first, with metal wire in silverpoint an alternative. In the sixteenth century, large deposits of graphite were discovered in Cumbria, England, following which graphite sticks and sheathed pencils became enormously popular among both amateurs and professionals.

Although it’s impossible to make any clear distinction between drawing and painting, those stick-based media are simple compared with oil paints, for instance, and seldom used in works comparable in their aims or sophistication to professional oil or watercolour painting.

The first changes in practice occurred as a result of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars at the turn of the eighteenth to nineteenth centuries. Graphite was a strategic product, as it was used as a refractory in the manufacture of cannonballs, and supplies…

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La communication impossible dans les films de Jean Luc Godard

Direct actu

Le film «À bout de souffle» illustre parfaitement ce communication difficile, où l’homme demande à une femme si elle l’aime et elle répond pas maintenant. Comme une opposition au «Mépris» où c’est la femme qui demande à l’homme si il l’aime.

«Souris-moi, tu es lâche dommage» 

Godard illustre dans beaucoup de ces films les soucis de la communication, dans «Pierrot le fou» ce manque de compatibilité étouffe le héros qui meurt tragiquement. Ces personnages du quotidien tentent de vivre ensemble, mais jamais rien ne fonctionne. Le film «A bout de souffle» illustre le temps qui passe et l’incompréhension du désir de l’autre. Fonctionnant sur une iconographie et une époque, Jean Luc Godard filme le réel et livre une vérité où chacun par son intention va donner du sens. Les corps des acteurs et actrices deviennent des écrans où se projettent les pulsions et inquiétudes des spectateurs.

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