Guerrillas – The Forest Saved the Entire Movie

REVIEW/NATION
by Asya Karpova and Sandra Kuznetsova
30.09.2020
The second film that we brought to you from the 6th Hungarian film festival CIFRA in Moscow is the feature film debut Guerrillas (2019) by György Kárpáti.

The film was presented by Russian-Belarusian actor Vladimir Svirsky who played an important role in the final. Kárpáti is very fond of the work of Sergei Loznitsa. He saw Svirsky in the film In The Fog (2012) and invited him to play a Russian officer in his own film.
The action takes place in 1849 during the war of liberation of Hungary against the Habsburg Empire. A young Hungarian, Barnabas, is hiding from conscription as he is a pacifist. But the news comes that his brother (on the photo) has been wounded and the young man goes in search of a partisan group pretending to be a priest in order to still avoid killing people.
There are a lot of close-ups in the film. It seems that we are watching a set of memories that pop up in the head of the main character many years after the end of the Hungarian war of independence: worms in the wounds of corpses, a rope on the swollen neck of an Austrian prisoner, the beautiful lips of a nurse, the eyes of a baby born in a partisan camp. But most often the viewer sees a dense Hungarian forest, large shots of branches against the sunset mark the end of each day, and spreading crowns of trees hang over the characters every time they are scared or sad. Nature, which simultaneously hides soldiers from enemies and hints at something sinister after the prediction, is a full-fledged character of the film.

Two brothers - two strategies of behavior in war. The eldest hid during the draft, hid when the Austrians burned down his parents' house. The younger one joined the partisans and was wounded in battle like a hero. The horrors of war, the torture and murder of innocent people, detailed at the beginning of Barnabash's journey, put us on the side of the older brother. But war does not see the difference between cowardice and mercy, every bullet that is not fired today may end up in the back of your comrade's head tomorrow. Kárpáti shot his film so that for most of the time we were mistaken and did not believe it along with the main character, but the shocking ending will make us seriously doubt any rules of morality when it comes to war.

The last minutes of the film are very heartfelt and can bring sensitive people to tears. Unless, of course, the audience leaves the hall without waiting for an impressive denouement. Because such a desire may really appear.
Partisan life is shot monotonously. The love triangle is banal, the charming nurse further complicates the reconciliation of the two brothers, but she doesn't either make the viewer rejoice the happiness of the one, or regret about the failure of the other. You won't even remember about the other characters after watching them, they are so faceless. The tension is only maintained by a vague sense that something sinister is lurking in this Hungarian forest. Yes, the finale causes shock and awareness of the realities of the war, but not what it should cause — empathy for the heroes — because the viewer has learned almost nothing about them in the past hour and a half.
The beginning was dynamic and convincing, the epilogue metaphorically beautiful due to the fact that the director used the image of a baby as a symbol of new hope, but neither of them worked because of the small number of details in the middle and the raw personalities of the characters. So just admire the forest.
 
Guerrillas – The Forest Saved the Entire Movie


REVIEW/NATION
by Asya Karpova and Sandra Kuznetsova
30.09.2020
The second film that we brought to you from the 6th Hungarian film festival CIFRA in Moscow is the feature film debut Guerrillas (2019) by György Kárpáti.

The film was presented by Russian-Belarusian actor Vladimir Svirsky who played an important role in the final. Kárpáti is very fond of the work of Sergei Loznitsa. He saw Svirsky in the film In The Fog (2012) and invited him to play a Russian officer in his own film.
The action takes place in 1849 during the war of liberation of Hungary against the Habsburg Empire. A young Hungarian, Barnabas, is hiding from conscription as he is a pacifist. But the news comes that his brother (on the photo) has been wounded and the young man goes in search of a partisan group pretending to be a priest in order to still avoid killing people.
There are a lot of close-ups in the film. It seems that we are watching a set of memories that pop up in the head of the main character many years after the end of the Hungarian war of independence: worms in the wounds of corpses, a rope on the swollen neck of an Austrian prisoner, the beautiful lips of a nurse, the eyes of a baby born in a partisan camp. But most often the viewer sees a dense Hungarian forest, large shots of branches against the sunset mark the end of each day, and spreading crowns of trees hang over the characters every time they are scared or sad. Nature, which simultaneously hides soldiers from enemies and hints at something sinister after the prediction, is a full-fledged character of the film.

Two brothers - two strategies of behavior in war. The eldest hid during the draft, hid when the Austrians burned down his parents' house. The younger one joined the partisans and was wounded in battle like a hero. The horrors of war, the torture and murder of innocent people, detailed at the beginning of Barnabash's journey, put us on the side of the older brother. But war does not see the difference between cowardice and mercy, every bullet that is not fired today may end up in the back of your comrade's head tomorrow. Kárpáti shot his film so that for most of the time we were mistaken and did not believe it along with the main character, but the shocking ending will make us seriously doubt any rules of morality when it comes to war.

The last minutes of the film are very heartfelt and can bring sensitive people to tears. Unless, of course, the audience leaves the hall without waiting for an impressive denouement. Because such a desire may really appear.
Partisan life is shot monotonously. The love triangle is banal, the charming nurse further complicates the reconciliation of the two brothers, but she doesn't either make the viewer rejoice the happiness of the one, or regret about the failure of the other. You won't even remember about the other characters after watching them, they are so faceless. The tension is only maintained by a vague sense that something sinister is lurking in this Hungarian forest. Yes, the finale causes shock and awareness of the realities of the war, but not what it should cause — empathy for the heroes — because the viewer has learned almost nothing about them in the past hour and a half.
The beginning was dynamic and convincing, the epilogue metaphorically beautiful due to the fact that the director used the image of a baby as a symbol of new hope, but neither of them worked because of the small number of details in the middle and the raw personalities of the characters. So just admire the forest.
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