The search for meaning punctuated by witch hunts

Patricio Sánchez-Jáuregui-September 10, 2021-Reading time: 2 minutes
Image from the film "The Budapest Doctor".

The Budapest doctor

Direction and scriptIstván Szabó
Hungary: 2021

Professor, doctor and head of the cardiology department of a Budapest hospital, a charismatic Klaus Maria Brandauer (Memories of Africa) is forced into a retirement in which he feels empty. Drowning in his free time and feeling useless, he returns to his hometown to become a family doctor, following in the wake of his late father. There he finds meaning, reunions, music, beauty, and the condemnation of a man of judgment. 

Although the starting gun of the film is a well-worn story, The Budapest doctor is a complex film, disguised as a simple fable with bucolic overtones, where the veil of quiet country life is gradually torn away by the growing witch-hunt of the mediocre and dull, the gossipy and envious ("Small town, big hell"However, the film combines ups and downs with mastery, escaping from this dullness and desolation with great performances of some charismatic protagonists, and sweetening everything with music. 

The play displays a cast that is not to be missed, each character being a subject worthy of interest: A possessive mother eager to be relevant again; a mayor who takes advantage of people's illusions and crushes with slander anyone who opposes him; a congregation of bored, envious and fearful people who serve as spokesmen for the regime.... A priest who tries to do good in the midst of a flock whose fear and envy is greater than love; a widowed, attractive, fulfilled and happy music teacher who ignores what people ruminate behind her back; an anonymous and lonely man always sitting on the same bench in the village. 

Academy Award winner for Mephisto and a Catholic from a Jewish family, István Szabo directs and writes this feature film with biographical overtones (a frustrated medical vocation and having been a Soviet informer) where music rises as muse, beginning and end ("...").you were always faithful to the music."The film's main character's wife tells him) and there are many ethical and moral conflicts that arise. However, perhaps the most important is the denunciation of the new repression, which also occurs from the power and weaving webs of social censorship that result in the suffocation and ostracism of its victims. 

La Brújula Newsletter Leave us your email and receive every week the latest news curated with a catholic point of view.