Synopsis by Nathan Southern
Hungarian director Istvan Szabó's 1976 feature Budapest Tales (AKA Budapesti mesék) unfolds in a purely allegorical, dreamlike realm, rich with indigenous symbolism. Following some great catastrophic onslaught - its exact nature unknown - a number of individuals emerge from hiding and discover a dilapidated old trolley car awash on a river bank. They instinctively begin loading all of their worldly goods onto the vehicle and pushing it along its tracks, destination unknown. In time, even the concept of a destination becomes secondary to the trek itself, and a number of key events befall the passenger/participants: a few lose all energy and fall by the wayside; the travelers run headfirst into a river that runs across a section of track, and must break the trolley down and move the pieces across, one at a time; occasional accidents and calamities arise, including the arrival of brigands. The life cycle, however, continues unabated: while one of the passengers dies, sacrificing his own life to ensure the continuation of the journey, a woman on board gives birth to twins. In time, the passengers (who have painted the trolley yellow and designated it with the number '1') enter the vicinity of a massive city, and discover that theirs is only one of a large number of indistinguishable trolleys approaching the metropolis. Many critics read Budapest Tales as a metaphor for the post-WWII history of Hungary.
streetcar, survivor, refugee, group, war