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Film / Hungarians

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Hungarians (Magyarok, aka "Magyars") is a 1978 film from Hungary directed by Zoltan Fabri.

Fall, 1942. A small group of men and women from a Hungarian village accept invitations to Germany to serve as agricultural laborers. They are so comically ignorant of the wider world that they have little idea who is fighting who in the war and they don't even know who Adolf Hitler is. Since they are voluntary guest workers, they are treated fairly well. They are housed on a German farm with a Benevolent Boss owner. They are given adequate food, clothing, and shelter. When Andres Fabian, one of the leaders of the little group, asks for a bicycle for his son back in Hungary, the farmer buys one for him.

But still, the Hungarians in Nazi Germany see things. There's a prisoner camp that directly abuts the farm. A group of starving Polish women stops at the farm. Their wagon driver simply disappears one day, never to be seen again. French prisoners are used as workers on the farm, and they starve just like the Poles. And then there's the band of Russian prisoners...



  • Bestiality Is Depraved: Before the Hungarians arrive at the farm, it appears the only help is Anton, an apparently mentally challenged young man. At one point Brayner, the farm manager, smacks him for having unnatural relations with the livestock.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Working for Nazi Germany more or less works out for the Hungarians, who come home alive and have made money—except for how all the men get drafted into the army and leave the very next day.
  • Country Mouse: They don't know who Hitler is. When they ride their truck through Paris they stare slack jawed at the cathedrals.
  • Dream Sequence:
    • Abris has a strange dream in which he wanders through a bright forest, calling for Hungarians, only to find a man who says he's the last Hungarian left.
    • Andres has a dream where he and his son are trying out the new bicycle on a beach, only for a bomb to fall on them. Then the dream moves on to his father, telling horror stories about fighting the Italians in World War I.
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  • Failure Is the Only Option: A peasant sarcastically notes that the Germans probably shouldn't have allied themselves with Hungarians, because Hungary always loses wars.
  • No Name Given: The owner of the farm is only ever referred to as "the master".
  • Seamless Scenery: Andres's wife Ilona is urging him to join the others and go to Germany where they can make money. He looks away—and he's on the train car, looking out the window as Backso calls to them from the train platform.
  • Slice of Life: A year in the lives of a group of Hungarian farm workers in rural Germany. Surprisingly, nothing really dramatic happens to the Hungarians, other than the one who dies of tuberculosis.
  • Spiteful Spit: Ilona spits at Brayner when he short changes them on the count of harvested potatoes (they're paid by the box).
  • Time Skip: The film starts with a title card that says "winter", then further title cards skip the action forward from winter to spring, spring to summer, and summer to fall.
  • Title Drop: In Abris's dream, he wanders through a lonely forest calling out "Where are you, Hungarians?" He meets a solitary man in a cabin who says he's the last Hungarian. The implication is that ignorant peasants who work for the Germans aren't true Hungarians.
  • Train-Station Goodbye: A rather unusual one, as it's Backso the village idiot who follows the train as it pulls away, telling the others not to go to Germany.