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Perpetuity

Post-apocalyptic Hungarian drama set in a near-future reveals a Europe plagued with violence, and devoid of hope and solidarity - from the Tallinn Black Night Film Festival

QUICK SNAP: LIVE FROM TALLINN

The television announces that Europe has been at war for six years, and that there is little hope of a ceasefire. This is about the only political contextualisation that we get from this despondent and raw drama adapted from a short story by renowned Hungarian writer Sandor Tar. The movie does not offer any direct commentary on the political failures of Europe, and the extreme-right government of Hungary. It merely paints a fatalistic picture of the future, without providing any explanation. Nihilism for the sake of nihilism.

Much of society has already collapsed. Most of the film takes place in semi-abandoned buildings in a dystopian countryside, with a handful of survivors protesting on the streets of an unnamed town. A Sphynx cat, large beetles and a monstrous mutant fish reveal that nature too is quickly morphing into something very sinister. Insects buzz and and bullets whizz continuously, providing the finishing touch to this eerie world where people aimlessly battle and kill each other.

The narrative is extremely loose. Our protagonist is a trigger-happy man called Ocsenas. He finds some affection and sexual satisfaction in bed with a young female, one of the few moments of relative peace and tranquillity in this grotesque new world. Otherwise, he has to fend for himself, often evading the rooftop snipers randomly shooting people on the ground. There are few allegiance and little sense of solidarity. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there.

Violence here is highly gratuitous, the poetry of chaos. Some of the imagery is potent and compelling, however devoid of any apparent message. The outcome is post-apocalyptic movie with a few dramatic and thriller devices, however without anything relevant to say. A dispensable addition to György Pálfi’s extensive filmography of 15 movies.

Perpetuity has just premiered in Competition at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival. Hungary is the focus country of the event this year (Estonia and Hungary share a remote linguistic and ethnic connection).


By Victor Fraga - 18-11-2021

Victor Fraga is a Brazilian born and London-based journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years of involvement in the cinema industry and beyond. He is an LGBT writer, and describes himself as a di...

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