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Katalin Varga [DVD] (2009)


Price: £6.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Hilda Peter, Tibor Palffy, Norbert Tanko, Melinda Kantor
  • Directors: Peter Strickland
  • Format: PAL, Subtitled, Widescreen, Dolby, Digital Sound
  • Language: Romanian, Hungarian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Artificial Eye
  • DVD Release Date: 22 Feb 2010
  • Run Time: 82 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002OMZ548
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 54,453 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Banished by her husband and her village, Katalin Varga is left with no other choice than to set out on a quest to find the real father of her son, Orbán. Taking Orbán with her under another pretence, Katalin travels through the Carpathians where she decides to reopen a sinister chapter from her past and take revenge. The hunt leads her to a place, she prayed eleven years prior, she would never set foot in again.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Humpty Dumpty on 28 Jan 2010
Format: DVD
The debut of Budapest-based but British film maker Peter Strickland, this Romanian drama is apparently based on a traditional Transsylvanian ballad. Katalin Varga (played with intensity by Hilda Peter), a young married woman living in a farming village, takes matters into her own hands after being mercilessly cast out of her home by her husband when he discovers that he is not the father of their son. Taking the boy with her, Katalin strikes out by horse-and-cart across the superficially idyllic Transsylvanian landscape, all pine treees and the sort of hay meadows last seen on a large scale in Britain in the 1950s, intent on tracking down and confronting the men whose actions have ruined her life.

The film proceeds at the start in a brief flashback and then a far more significant flashback pops up at the end which turns all we have seen on its head. The linear though mysterious narrative is further disturbed as hunter becomes hunted and Katalin's mission becomes ever more precarious.

Writer-director Strickland shows a visual and narrative confidence that belies his experience. He eschews flashy camera techniques or the injecting of his revenge film with unneeded violence or action sequences. His pacing is measured and the viewer has the chance to reflect on the part that the decades of the inhuman Ceaucescu regime may have played in fostering the harsh attitudes and actions that are on show here, and whether Strickland is cutting through to a deeper, dark nature of man lying below the political strata.

This is an unusual film, combining elements of psychological thriller with social comment. Recommended.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Bob Salter TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 26 Mar 2010
Format: DVD
With the current crop of cinematic super turkeys gobbling up our screens, it was a refreshing antidote to watch this exceptionally well crafted little film. You have to admire the British director Peter Strickland for the courage of his convictions. Unable to fund his project in England, he financed it with his own inheritance. He then had the inspired idea of filming in Eastern Transylvania in Romania, where he was able to make the film for a very modest 30,000 euros. This was a tightrope walking act of faith that deserved success. Even so, I would not give a positive review on those facts alone. The truth is that the finished product speaks for itself. It is a triumph and a credit to Strickland. For his first feature length film this is a very assured debut indeed, and I hope Strickland is able to expand on this promising start.

This short film concerns a young mother's quest to exact vengeance on two men who raped her ten years before, causing her to become pregnant. Shunned by her husband when he learns the truth, she travels the Romanian countryside in pursuit of the two men responsible. But this film does not follow any predictable Hollywood format. It is much more subtle than that. The films atmosphere reminded me much of the novels of Thomas Hardy, whose work it should be warned was not noted for happy endings. The Romanian countryside with its wonderful pastoral scenes of flocks of sheep tended by shepherd's, strongly enforced this feeling. I was also reminded of Grimm's fairy tales that had their origins in the myths and legends of those deep, dark and impenetrable European forests so lovingly depicted in this film. The scenes of the mist wreathed Carpathian mountains added hugely to the brooding menace of this film.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Ms. A. M. Davidson on 6 Nov 2009
Format: DVD
What makes Katalin and her son leave their native village and take to the roads? What happened in her past that comes back to haunt her?

The film raises these questions at the beginning in a sequence that shows the Transylvanian village and lifestyle of Katalin's home. From there we are taken on a journey with her that not only leads us through the beautiful countryside of this little explored area of Europe but also on a journey of Katalin's past. A single but devastating incident changed forever Katalin's life and world. Now she travels back to the scene of this incident and extracts a terrible revenge.

Her choices have far reaching consequences for the people she meets and those she seeks out. Principally it is those who are innocent and unknowing who suffer the greatest impact.

The film is mainly in Hungarian with some Romanian.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Richard Mcallister on 18 Sep 2010
Format: DVD
The theme of revenge is one that has effectively been played to death in cinema. Over the last few years, hugely successfully (in box office terms anyway) include Park Chan-Wook's 'Vengeance Trilogy', Kill Bill and Man on Fire. These films each attempted to paint this theme on a broad canvas but ultimately offered little to say on its subject matter.

In 80 minutes Peter Strickland manages to outstrip each of these films in this, his debut. That is outstrip them artistically, thematically and morally. Reminiscent in some ways of Tarkovsky in his use of sound and score to augment what occurs on screen, with a clear vision and purpose, Strickland has created a film that is at once gripping, beautiful, haunting and incisive. With economy of detail, we are asked a series of questions: how should we react we someone we know has been 'violated'? Do we have the right to carry out revenge when it can have repercussions on other underserving victims? Does violence beget violence? Is redemption possible?

That these questions are raised in a running time of 80 minutes, in a film this beautiful and gripping by a first-time filmmaker is highly impressive. It is one of the best films I have seen this year and does promise a career ahead for Peter Strickland. Please UK, can someone give him money for his next feature?
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