Fateless | Chicago Reader

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Respected Hungarian cinematographer Lajos Koltai (Being Julia) makes his directing debut with this long, heavy, and not particularly edifying Holocaust drama, adapted by Imre Kertesz from his own novel. The opening scenes, set in a middle-class Jewish home in Budapest, are beautifully shot; the closing ones, which show the young protagonist (Marcell Nagy) trying to adjust after coming home from Auschwitz, are the most emotionally complex. Separating them is an hour and a half of shapeless blue gray misery in the camps, which eventually devolves into a series of blackouts. The hero's intriguing claim near the end, that he was able to find happiness in the camps, might have distinguished this from other Holocaust films, but Koltai never shows us any evidence. In Hungarian with subtitles. 140 min.

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