Hungary SIG #Hungary "Sunshine" #hungary

B Frederics <picturethisfilm@...>

I'm responding to Michael Kelemen's message regarding the movie "Sunshine".
I won't answer his questions regarding the film here. However, it is a movie
that every Hungarian Jew searching their family roots should see. The story
covers the late 19th century through the Hungarian uprising against the
communists. It is actually about three generations of a Jewish family in
Budapest and because of anti-Semitism, are forced to choose between their
faith and professional success. The relationships between family members are
not incestuous (as Michael questions), but evolve >from a longing to be
accepted for the person they are, something nearly impossible in 19th
century Austria-Hungary.

My Hungarian family was very much like the SONNENSCHEINE aka SUNSHINE
family, with each successive generation removing themselves further from
their Jewish roots. Some changed their name or the spelling to be less
Magyar and more German for business reasons, while living in Budapest. As I
watched the film, I felt a kinship to the characters and had a better
understanding of my forebearers.

Bonnie Frederics
Tucson, AZ

(Budapest, Gyongyos, DiosGyor, Kazinc, Ga'cs)

Subject: Sunshine
From: "Michael Kelemen" <m.kel@...>
Date: Thu, 9 Oct 2003 10:52:17 -0400
X-Message-Number: 8

This is off-topic so it's best if
any responses are directed to me
personally at m.kel@...

Last night the Canadian Broadcasting
Corporation showed "Sunshine".

Interviews with Robert Lantos who spoke
about his own life and Ralph Fiennes
who spoke at length about the director,
Istvan Szabo, can be found at the CBC
website (below).

But, I didn't fully understand the film.

First the son, Ignatz, marries his sister/cousin.
Then she has an affair with his brother.
Then Ignaztz son, Adam, has an affair with his brother's wife.
Then Ignatz' grandson, Ivan, chooses an inaccessible, married
woman as a lover and has his closest personal relationship
with his grandmother. (We see them chatting on the bed).

The director said that the film is about Jews
trying to fit into Hungarian society. In the end,
however, Ivan reverts to the family's original, Jewish
name, Sonnenscheine, and is happy for the very first time.
(His grandmother also calls identifies Sonnenscheine
just before she dies).

Does the inability to break out of the family romantically
betray the fact that these Hungarian Jews unable to really
break away >from their background?

And, at the end, Adam says that his grandmother had
been the only family member to have ever been free.
I didn't see that. She left her husband when his
commitment to being dispassionate Austro-Hungarian
judge makes him stuffy but she did nothing to stall
the urge to assimilate which in the end is seen as
the villain of the piece.


Michael Kelemen

Moderator VK: This is slightly off-topic but may be of interest to those
who heard Rita Horvath's presentation on Hungarian-Jewish Family Novels at
the IAJGS conference. Please continue the discussion off-list unless
there's something to say that's more relevant to the topic of
Hungarian-Jewish family research.

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