By Rachel Cooper
Published: 7 Sep 2009
Set amid the wetlands of the Danube delta, Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó’s third feature is hauntingly beautiful. A tale of forbidden love between brother and sister, the film is as unnervingly still as the smooth expanses of water that run throughout the picture.
Lingering, elegant shots of sea and sky have a strangely hypnotic effect, but beneath the eerily calm surface, Mundruczó weaves a quietly disturbing – if somewhat underdeveloped – narrative. Following his father’s death, Mihail – played by violinist Félix Lajkó – returns to his estranged family in an isolated village where he meets his sister, Fauna, for the first time. Few words are exchanged between the pair, but their increasingly fond relationship gradually moves beyond the fraternal.
When they hold a house-warming party, the walls of their refuge are breached and the villagers’ outrage turns violent. Yet despite the stark brutality, a nagging sense of emptiness pervades the final note of a film that, however mesmerising, is perhaps a little too minimalist.
Telegraph rating: * * *