THE LITTLE VOYAGE.
A Zsebcselek Csoport production in association with MMK, ORTT, MAFSZ. Produced by Gyorgy Czaban, Mihaly Buzas.
Directed by Mihaly Buzas. Screenplay, Buzas, Zoltan Korosi, Gyorgy Palos. Camera (color), Palos; editor, Mihaly Buzas; music, Zoltan Vegso; production designer, Noemi Lengyel. Reviewed at Hungarian Film Week, Budapest, Feb. 6, 2000. Original title: A kis utazas. Running time: 95 MIN.
With: Jozsef Gyabronka, Arnold Farkas, Jozsef Szikra, Imola Gaspar, Nora Cseszarik, Erzsebet Dozsa.
Micro-budgeted film's slim but amiable story centers on a bunch of Hungarian high school kids in the 1970s who win a trip to an East German camp for a working holiday. On the plus side, pic has an authentic feel for characters and situations, but exceedingly modest production values make it more suitable for small screens than large ones.
Director/co-writer Mihaly Buzas shows a tart sense of humor as he observes the eager youngsters, most of whom never have traveled outside Hungary. They find themselves mixed up with teenagers from other Communist countries, with all of them treated to harsh, military-style discipline from the German teachers. While the teachers slip away for an affair (though both are married), the kids try to extract as much fun -- and, they hope, sex -- as they can from their regimented vacation, which involves fruit-picking by day and singing socialist songs by night. Highlight comes when the Hungarians subvert a serious songfest with a spirited rendition of numbers from "Hair." Images are grainy, but this generally fits the Spartan, yet at times quite lively, mood.