A vörös grófnö (1984)

Run Time - 180 min.  |   Countries - Hungary  |  
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Logically divided into two separate parts, this intriguing -- although definitely intellectualized -- docudrama on the life and times of Count Mihaly Karoly (Ferenc Bacs) and his wife Katinka (Juli Basti) makes for an interesting, informative account of their personal history and the political background against which their lives have added meaning. In the first segment of the film, young Katinka falls in love with the much-older Count Karolyi after a love affair in her life has ended against her wishes. Her desire for the Count seems even more unreasonable, given the fact that he and his mistress have been together for a long time. But in their social circles of fancy dress balls and idle aristocrats, even a passionate desire can be realized, and Katinka and the Count are eventually married. In the second part of the film, the radical politics of the couple is taking its toll -- during World War I the couple sided with the common people against the aristocrats, and after the communists took over Hungary in 1919 the couple further alienated others in their class by supporting the new government -- even to the point of giving away their estates. Their lives would have continued as always, except the rival old guard comes back into power, and the two Karolyis are forced into exile. Newsreel footage adds verisimilitude to the story, and Katinka herself -- now an elderly woman living in the south of France, provides an introduction to the film.