Bad Day, Sunshine


The film opens in the latter half of the Nineteenth Century and concludes after the fall of the Berlin Wall. It isn't easy to cover so much ground in three hours. Szabo seems determined to mention every historical event that transpires; by necessity it is a whirlwind tour. The end of World War II, the rise of Stalin, the purges, the Hungarian invasion, and the Soviet invasion all whiz by in a flash. We see Ivan condemned to five years in a Soviet prison one moment; one short scene later he is being released.

Sunshinelooks beautiful, sepia-toned and elegantly lensed by Szabo's regular cinematographer Lajos Koltai, but it has no emotional impact, save for one sequence: the harrowing scene of Adam in a Nazi labor camp, refusing to acknowledge he is a Jew, and the resulting events. While my admiration for Szabo is not diminished by this very disappointing film, it is profoundly sad to see him so completely lose his footing.

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