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The Independent Critic

Felix Lajko, Orsi Toth, Lili Monori and Sando Gaspar
Kornel Mundruczo
Equiv. to "R"
92 Mins.
Facets Home Video (DVD)
Hungarian w/English Subtitles
"Afta," a short film by Mundruczo, "Little Apocrypha No. 1 and No.2" - Two Short Films; Trailer

 "Delta" Review 
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Winner of the International Critics' Prize and nominated for the Golden Palm at Cannes, Kornel Mundruczo's Delta is a beautifully photographed and poetic film that is more successful as a visual journey than it is as a coherent, narrative piece of cinematic drama. Filmed on the Danube Delta, the film follows Mihail (Felix Lajko) as he returns to the secluded countryside to discover that he has a grown half-sister, Fauna (Orsi Toth). The two bond, though this bond is communicated more through visual imagery and sound than through story and plot. They build a house on stilts in the river, becoming lovers until an act of intolerant violence shatters their idyllic life.

The third feature film from Hungarian filmmaker Mundruczo, Delta is a film that simultaneously presents beauty and brutality as we grow to realize that the village in which Fauna and Mihail live cannot possibly tolerate that which they believe to be unnatural. Lajko, who also contributes the film's lush and textured original score, gives a surprisingly delicate and nuanced performance opposite the more playful and vibrant performance offered by Toth. Their relationship is brought to life with more atmosphere than dialogue. In many ways, Delta is an experiential film that requires one to be open to using all of one's senses when watching it. Because of the film's intense themes, including incest and rape, it is definitely not a film for the casual moviegoer but for the true cineaste.

Mundruczo was once a protege of Bela Tarr, and one can see the influence in the ways in which Mundruczo layers and spaces the film's camera shots. Delta is also a film that, quite refreshingly, is not "dumbed down" nor catering to the weakest link in an audience. Because Mundruczo chooses to minimize dialogue and plot in favor of atmosphere and experience, Delta is a fully immersive experience that will enchant those who love it and repulse those who don't surrender to it.

This 2008 film is being released on DVD by the incredible folks at Facets Home Video with a terrific packaging that includes three of Mundruczo's short films plus the film's trailer. Not surprisingly, the film has proven to be wildly popular in film festivals worldwide, especially in Europe, and given Facets' history of tremendous devotion to under-seen indies it should have no trouble attracting an audience on home video.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic