Szirmok, virgok, koszork (Flowers of Reverie) (1984)

 

 

 

 

Director:     Lszl Lugossy.

Starring:     Gyrgy Cserhalmi (Majlth Ferenc, huszrfhadnagy),  Grazyna Szapolowska (Mria, Majlth felesge),  Jir Adamra (Heinrich nagybcsi),  Boguslaw Linda (Tarnczy Kornl),  Pter Malcsiner (Tarnczy Mikls),  Lajos ze (Ezredes),  Angla Csszr (Mria magyar hangja),  Tibor Kristf (Heinrich magyar hangja),  Sndor Szakcsi (Kornl magyar hangja),  Vilmos Kun (Brtnigazgat),  Mtys Usztics (Rendrparancsnok),  Kati Marton (Dada),  Frigyes Hollsi (Head Physician of Madhouse),  rpd Csernk (Eszels katona),  Ivn Dengyel (Magyar rnagy).

Russians beat down the 1849 Hungarian revolution; Hungarian soldier wrestles with idea of joining the Austrian army. 

 

 

Spoiler Warning:  below is a summary of the entire film. 

 

1849.  A Hungarian hussar named Ivan first shoots his horse and then shoots himself.  A lieutenant named Ferenc races over to him but Istvan is already dead.  The Colonel comes over to tell the lieutenant that the horse is a loss and the lieutenant says:  "Thank your lucky star, Colonel, there's no more bullets in this weapon."  The Colonel tells the lieutenant that he is lucky that there's no more army, because, otherwise, he would be court-martialed for his remark. 

A man has his ear to the ground and he tells Ferenc that he is sure he hears the sounds of Kossuth and his men coming to their rescue.  Ferenc tells the fellow that Kossuth has already fled the area. Money is gathered from the soldiers and then it is burned.   A man burning his money says Lajo Kossuth sent the message that he was running out of soldiers. 

Officers sing patriotic songs at a banquet.  The Lieutenant and the Colonel attend the banquet.  They both are a bit nervous about the plan of the Russians to turn the Hungarian officers over to the Austrians.  The two men pledge themselves to fight again for a free Hungary, if the opportunity arises.    The Hungarian officers have to surrender their swords. 

The next day the officers and soldiers of the once Hungarian army have to line up to be judged as fit or unfit to be taken into the Austrian army.  The fit are given Austrian uniforms to put on. 

1851.  Ferenc's wife Maria is at home speaking with her brother Kornel.  She discusses the upcoming baptism of Kornel's baby.  She is upset with her brother because he asked Uncle Heinrich to be the godfather of the child.  Kornel says he had no choice but to ask Uncle Heinrich.  He adds that Maria should be the godmother of the child, but Maria says that she is married to a rebel who was a 1848 member of parliament and who took part in the 1848 revolution itself.  It would not be good for Kornrl to push a rebel's wife with Uncle, a high official of the Ministry of the Interior in the present government.  Kornel says that if Maria becomes the godmother, then Ferenc could become the godfather.  But Kornel also says that Ferenc wouldn't even come out of his little den to participate in the baptism of his nephew. 

Maria goes to the den to speak with her husband.  He feels bad about being saved from the usual fate of important rebels:  emigration, imprisonment or death.  A rebel shouldn't be forced to deal with a conservative government ruling the country, rather than a democratic leader.  And worse, he owes his release largely to Uncle Heinrich.  Ferenc says he must resign himself to the situation or he will end up hanging himself. 

Ferenc tells Kornel that he won't even attend the baptism.  Kornel tries to convince Ferenc by saying that Ferenc should have known that by signing an agreement for release, he would have to cooperate somewhat with the government.  Kornel says he wasn't enthusiastic about signing the profession of allegiance, but he did it for his family and became a "policeman" in the government.  Kornel says he flees from people who talk about the past, while Ferenc says:  "Well, I live in the past."  Maria says that her husband is taking out his anger on a poor, innocent baby.  This last argument wins Ferenc over on the question of going to the baptism. 

The whole family is there for the baptism, except for the recently deceased mother of the child.  After the ceremony Uncle Heinrich speaks with Ferenc alone.  He gives Ferenc something to read.  It is a collection of the minutes of the speeches Ferenc made in Parliament.  The reform ideas, he says, are prohibited literature under the new government.  Uncle urges Ferenc to write down uncensored all his thoughts about government and he will see that it gets into the most competent hands. 

At dinner Uncle says that it's great that Miklos can go to the best university in Europe without having a proper letter of introduction.  Ferenc says that he feels sorry for Miklos because he is going to have to go to Vienna for his education.  He shouldn't be taught by the Austrians, but by the people who fought for Hungarian independence.  Ferenc says going to Vienna is going to lead Miklos to forget he is a Hungarian.  Kornel says Miklos can only be a Hungarian by being a member of the Austrian Empire.  Uncle says:  "It is manure, not blood, the soil needs."  But Ferenc is not going to relent on his commitment to Hungarian independence,.  He leaves the table.

At night Ferenc's old Colonel comes in.  They are both happy to see each other.  The Colonel tells the adults that in the days of the revolution, their side was too idealistic.  Idealism is no match for experience, weapons and supplies.  He says he told Kossuth the same thing when he disguised himself and got in to see the man staying in Turkey.  Colonel says that the invisible Hungarian government has set the day for the next uprising in the spirit of the 1848 revolution.  The West will be sending a quarter of a million rifles to the Hungarian rebels.  The Lieutenant and the Colonel toast to the next uprising.  Miklos takes an oath to work for Hungarian independence.  The Colonel tells Maria that the women's secret organization unit will become part of the invisible party.  After the Colonel goes to bed, Ferenc and Maria have sex (brief nudity). 

The next morning Ferenc finds the Colonel gone from the guest room.  He finds Miklos slumped over his desk sleeping.  Apparently, Miklos stayed up all night taking writing out pamphlets authorized by the Colonel.  Ferenc tells Miklos that if the authorities were to find this literature, it would mean the gallows for everyone.  He burns the proclamations, which say that traitors to the cause of Hungarian independence will be thrown to the dogs.     

Austrian police bust into the house and start running throughout the place.  They grab Miklos and Ferenc and shove them into different rooms.  The police take Miklos, Ferenc, Kornel and Maria with them.  The prisoners, except for Ferenc, are brought into a room where an official and Uncle are standing.  The official says on the orders of his superior, he is setting them free.  They all will be under the care of Heinrich. Ferenc will have to stay for a few days.  Miklos says he's not going without Ferenc, but the police use force to get him to leave. 

The entire family has to stay at Uncle's place because the police are going to do a thorough search of Ferenc's house.  There is a lot of tension between Kornel and his sister Maria because of the arrests. 

The family gets a request that Maria come to the prison.  It seems that her husband is suffering from clinical depression caused by his being held in solitary confinement.  Uncle tries to get Maria to tell Ferenc to cooperate with the authorities and make a full admission, but Maria absolutely refuses.  She will, however, be cautious of the authorities and guards. 

The first thing Ferenc says to his wife is:  "Do you know, my dear, that horrible visions are haunting me?"   He goes on to say that he has constants visions of her jumping from the third floor of the prison to her death in the courtyard below.  They have to talk in front of four judges sitting at a table at one end of the room.  The judges want the wife to agree that she was allowed to see her husband.  She agrees.  They also want Ferenc to agree he saw his wife and she is alive.  Furthermore, they want him to agree that he spread false statements that the authorities had murdered his wife.  Maria tells them to leave her husband alone, because he is not mentally well.  But the chief judge says that Ferenc has slandered them and they want the matter rectified.  Maria signs her document, while her husband steps back away from the table. 

Uncle comes to see Maria at home.  He tells her that on account of her and her husband, he got balled out like a child by the Minister of the Interior.  The Minister accused him of not having control of and taking care of his family.  They are going to transfer Ferenc to a mental asylum.  This upsets Maria and Miklos.  They say that Ferenc is not crazy.  Maria rushes back to her room.  Uncle now balls out Miklos for his part in this drama. 

Miklos tells Maria that she never should have signed the document set before her  --  a document that contradicted her husband's claim that the prison authorities had killed his wife.  This gave the authorities the option to put Ferenc in the mental asylum and a term in the asylum is worse than being a political prisoner.   This upsets Maria and she tells Miklos to leave her alone.  Miklos puts on his coat, grabs his luggage and out the door he goes. 

Maria visits her husband in the asylum.  The director says he has been satisfied with her husband's behavior.  He lies in his bed which is enclosed by a cage.  He is taken out and Maria gives him a haircut. When virtually alone with her husband, she asks him to give her some sign to indicate that he is well and just trying to fool the director.  He only speaks of his delusions that the nights are burning.  He says:  "Take care of yourselves." 

At work a clerk comes in to show his boss Kornel an article in one of the newspapers written by Ferenc.  The open letter to the Emperor was written at the asylum.  At home Maria reads the article.  Uncle says that the open letter could be her husband's death sentence.   Uncle further comments that Ferenc must be a marvelous actor, but this time he has gone too far.  Maria says her husband could not have written the open letter because he really is very ill.  Uncle doesn't believe her. 

The police arrive at the asylum and start searching every patient and his bed area.  They take Ferenc into a separate room. 

Maria goes to talk with Miklos.  She says she was told at the asylum that he didn't want to see her.  She asks Miklos if he thinks her husband wrote the open letter.  Miklos says it doesn't matter.  Now the only thing he can do is start a hunger-strike.  Maria doesn't want this, because it might end up killing her husband.  She believes the authorities did drive her husband crazy.  Miklos says that the open letter saved the life of Ferenc.  The authorities can't afford to do anything to Ferenc without being harshly judged by international opinion.  Miklos says he is going to write an inflammatory letter to the Emperor.  Maria gets very upset and accuses him of wanting to join her husband in prison.  He says maybe she should turn him in to the police.  She resents this statement, slaps him hard several times across the face, cries, hugs and kisses her brother. 

Kornel goes to see Ferenc.  They hug.  Kornel says he misses his brother-in-law.  After that, Kornel says that Frenec has put him in a very difficult position.  So,  he wants Ferenc to sign a statement saying that his name was misused in the open letter to the Emperor.   Ferenc says he won't sign anything and wants to go back to his room.  He escapes from the room and Kornel, but not before he tells Kornel to take good care of Maria and the children.  In his room Ferenc lights his bed on fire and burns himself to death.

The adults of the family go pay their respects at the grave of Ferenc.  They lay wreaths on top of the grave. 

Miklos is on a ship.  He thinks he see the Colonel, bu is mistaken.  He looks out at the ocean, while leaning on the railing. 

 

The movie is actually about the period following the end of the 1848-49 Revolution in Hungary against Austria.  It deals with effects of the after-math on one rebel family. In Ferenc's family there is a virtual civil war at times.  Ferenc, his wife and Miklos are still very much patriots and rebels, but Uncle Heinrich and Kornel have high positions in the new Austrian-backed government.  Ferenc is not giving up on the rebellion and is thrown into prison by the authorities for speaking with his former colonel in the Hungarian army, who is plotting the next uprising already.  Ferenc is placed in solitary confinement and becomes clinically depressed and is place in an insane asylum.  Despite this, an open letter to the Emperor appearing in a newspaper is signed by Ferenc.  This puts Kornel and Uncle in a bad situation and they may be demoted or fired from their government positions.  They in turn put pressure on Maria, but Maria and Miklos are still defiant.  So what is the puppet government going to do about Ferenc?

I enjoyed the movie.  It is absolutely not an action flick.  It's more like a play with just a few scene changes.  In other words, it's a movie that is mostly talk.  But at least it is interesting talk that reveals the tough position the future Hungary was in, before their independence from Austria.  Gyrgy Cserhalmi as Ferenc was good and Grazyna Szapolowska as Mria was very pretty. 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.

 


Historical Background:

 

1820 the Emperor is forced to convene the Diet. A Reform Period begins. The achievements of the period are mostly of national character. The Hungarian language is made one of the official languages of the country.

One of the most prominent statesmen of the country is Count Istvn Szchenyi, urges modernization. His message is taken up by others.

1825 the Hungarian Parliament convenes again to handle financial needs. A liberal party emerges. The liberals wanted to provide a better life for the peasantry.

Lajos Kossuth - famous journalist at that time - emerged as leader of the liberals.

Habsburg monarchs try to prevent the industrialization of Hungary and the improvement of human civil and political rights and economic reforms.

Reformers like Lajos Kossuth and Mihly Tncsics are imprisoned.

1848

1848 (March 15) the Hungarian Revolution begin. In Pest and Buda there are mass demonstrations forcing the imperial governor to accept all demands. Next came insurrections throughout the kingdom.

Hungarian reformists to declare Hungary's new government and the first Prime Minister Lajos Batthyny. Now Hungary had a democratic political system. They also demanded that the government have authority over Hungarian regiments in the Habsburg army.

1848 (summer) Hungary appears on the way to civil war.

by end of August the imperial government in Vienna officially orders the Hungarian government in Pest to end plans for a Hungarian army. Conservative politician Josip Jelačcićc then takes military action against the Hungarian government without any official order.

Civil war rages on three fronts: 1) against the Jelačcićc's Croatian troops; 2) in the Banat; and 3) in Transylvania.

September Parliament makes concessions to the radicals rather than let events erupt into violence. After the revolution in Austria itself was put down, Franz Joseph I replaces his mentally handicapped uncle Ferdinand I as Emperor.

Austria refuses to accept the Hungarian government.  Field Marshall Count Lamberg is given control of all armies in Hungary (including Jelačcićc's).

A few days later Lamberg is attacked & murdered by a peasant mob upon his arrival in Hungary . The Imperial court orders the Hungarian parliament and government be dissolved. Jelačcićc takes Lamberg's place. War between Austria and Hungary officially begins.

The Austrians manipulate the Croatian, Serbian and Romanian peasantry to rebel against the Hungarian government. The Hungarians get support from the Slovak, German, Rusyn, Hungarian Slovenes, Jews and a large number of Polish, Austrian and Italian volunteers.

1848 (September) Hungarian victory at Pkozd.

1849

1849 (April) Hungarian victory at Isaszeg. The Hungarians declare their independence from the Habsburg Empire.

Austrian Franz Joseph asks for help from Czar Nicholas I. Russian armies invade Hungary.

1849 (October) in the October Crisis in Vienna insurgents attack a garrison on its way to Hungary to support Jelačcićc's forces and Vienna taken.

Vienna is recaptured. General Windischgrtz and 70,000 troops are sent to Hungary to crush the revolt.

By the end of December Hungarian government evacuates Pest.

1849 (March to May) the Austrian army retreats. General Windischgrtz is removed.

The Hungarians besiege Buda and prepare for a counter-attack.

1849 (June) Russian and Austrian troops enter Hungary.

1849 (August 11) Kossuth abdicates in favor of General Artr Grgey.

1849 (August 13) Grgey surrenders at Vilgos to the Russians. The Russians gave the Hungarian army to the Austrians.

Leader of the Austrian army Julius Jacob von Haynau starts a few months of retribution. He orders the execution of 13 leaders of the Hungarian army in Arad and Prime minister Batthyny in Pest.

Lajos Kossuth goes into exile. He is welcomed in the USA. He then goes on to Istanbul, Turkey and Turin, Italy.

Hungary engages in "passive resistance".

1851 Archduke Albrecht, Duke of Teschen is appointed civil and military governor of the Kingdom of Hungary.

1860 Archduke Albrecht is relieved of his post.

 

 

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