By EDDIE COCKRELL
A Hungarotop release (in Hungary) of a Central Filmstudio production. (International sales: Bunyik Entertainment, Los Angeles.) Produced by Gyorgy Gyula Fulop. Directed, written by Karoly Esztergalyos.
With: Laszlo Galffi, David Szabo, Eva Kerekes.
Titillatingly titled "Men in the Nude" reveals itself to be a heavyhanded, earnestly played meller about a bearded, middle-aged writer who steps out on his actress wife with a coltish young man who alternately mocks and muzzles him. Pic will connect effortlessly with it's core aud via fests and specialty distribs, with niche ancillary biz to follow.
Uttering cliched come-ons such as "beginnings can be difficult" and "you must try everything once," 19-year-old Zsolt (David Szabo) deliberately hones in on 49-year-old Tibor (Laszlo Galffi), who's killing latenight time in a bookstore after his wife, Edit (Eva Kerekes), calls to say she's been delayed at her out-of-town regional theater.
This sets the stage for an on-again, off-again affair defined by Tibor's anguished indecision and Zsolt's immature petulance. Tibor declares the lad's "awoken in me something I thought was extinct. I'd like to write about this." For his part, the lad in question fumes "I'm not a whore," even though that's pretty much exactly what he is.
Genuinely creepy final shot seems to have wandered in from David Lynch's bag of tricks.
Writer-helmer Karoly Esztergalyos eschews thriller elements in favor of the emotional chaos of love and desire. Galffi sells Tibor's anguish, in clear contrast to Szabo's weak perf of a murky man-child. Sex is detailed without being explicit.
Tech credits are functional. Popular classical pieces share the soundtrack with an overly busy score that saws away vigorously, regardless of mood.
Camera (color), Miklos Biro; editor, Eva Palotai; music, Peter Matrahazi, Ferenc Boka; production designer, Marta Janoskuti; sound (DTS Stereo), Gyorgy Kovacs. Reviewed at Hungarian Film Week, Budapest, Feb. 2, 2007. (In Berlin Film Festival -- Panorama.) Running time: 97 MIN.