Fateless, the movie

69mFateless, is a Hungarian movie (sub-titled in English) about a young 14 year old boy who finds himself in the midst of the Holocaust, that is really beyond his understanding.  It is a based on a semi-autobiographical book.  This young boy isn’t even really connected to Judaism and isn’t a very emotional kid at all. 

The movie has flaws but is haunting none the less.  The photography in this film is so unbelievable beautiful and brilliant that I got more out of that than the words being spoken.  The whole film is shot in black and white until the last few minutes of the film when it turns to color.  This is the first film on the Holocaust that I actually had a better feeling of what it might have been like to live through it. 

The main character, Gyuri, is who we follow through the film.  He first finds out that his father is being sent to the labor camps.  Everyone gets together for his last night to send him off.  This camera captures everyone’s emotions.  The father’s parents are there.  They zero in on the parents and the mothers confusion and the father tears welling up in his eyes and he stands up and runs to his son to hug him.  We had already learned that this it not a very emotional or touching family and that hug rips at your heart.

Gyuri find himself on a bus en route to work, he has a pass that has been issued by the army to do this. Regardless,  he is stopped, taken off the bus, with a variety of other people, and finds himself being transported to the camps.  What is most amazing is how everyone just went. 

The group of people he finds himself traveling with are both men and women, all ages.  Through out those scenes, the snow just continues to blow and circle around them in the car.  You can feel how cold they are.  As they leave Hungary, a guard comes and asks them to give him all their valuables and money.  He says that you won’t need them where you are going.  Wouldn’t they rather leave them in Hungary than with the Germans?  A man in their group attempts to negotiate for water with the guard.  This scene explodes with anger from the guard and dismay from the travelers.  It is a very haunting scene because the words that are flying back and forth are exactly how people felt about the Jews.  All money, all business and people hated them for it.  Great scene.  Very disturbing. 

When they arrive in the camps, the conversation prior to this is how they are told that they won’t need luggage where they are going, but don’t believe it.  Even one woman puts on her lipstick right before they exit the cart.  Once the army has separated the groups, the camera stills on the luggage just sitting outside each car.  It still sticks with me.

Inside the camps, Gyuri slowly disintegrates, as they all do.  The camera captures each persons own hell.  All Gyuri really wants to do is go home and eat.  He is hungry.  He doesn’t truly capture his connection to why he is there.  I believe in the end he does, but it wasn’t so obvious in the dialogue that we get as the movie winds down. 

Regardless of the flaws, I can not get this film out of my head.  The direction and photography make this film something to be seen.  Even the Germans who didn’t believe that this actually happened and ignored the refugees returning home make you wonder and question.  I am glad my friend made me go see this film.  It will sit me with for quite awhile.