"They drop a bomb on the headquarters, I say it's unimportant"
November 19, 2020 12:25 PM   Subscribe

The Fifth Seal [SLTYT] is an award winning Hungarian movie (with subtitles) from 1976 by Zoltán Fábri. The central question of the movie is how to act ethically under oppression - a problem American viewers may find surprisingly relevant.

The IMDB summary at first looks like an opening line of a joke:
In Budapest in 1944, a watchmaker, a book seller and a carpenter are drinking in a bar with the owner,when they are joined by a stranger. The watchmaker asks a hypothetical question that will change their lives.
but a longer blog post on the film gives a very good overview of the topics the film touches on:
Very few films deal with philosophy and ethical human choices under extreme testing situations. The Fifth Seal is one that not only presents a philosophical dilemma on screen but will make any intelligent and sensitive viewer to ponder over his or her own choice under similar circumstances.
The same author interviewed Fábri in 1982 for the The Telegraph (Kolkata, India), which you can read here.
posted by kmt (4 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
They really knocked it out of the park with this one and the final film in the trilogy, The Seventh Seal. It's a shame the middle one doesn't hold up.
posted by oulipian at 2:29 PM on November 19, 2020 [6 favorites]

Very few films deal with philosophy and ethical human choices under extreme testing situations.

Patience - "Terrence Malick's A Hidden Life"
Franz Jägerstätter was an Austrian Catholic who, when the Second World War broke out, refused, on religious grounds, to take an oath of loyalty to Hitler. That is to say, he refused to make his political leader—a man consumed with hatred for everything he deemed Other and Alien, a man who saw loyalty to the German Empire and loyalty to him as one and indissoluble—an idol to be worshipped. He was imprisoned for this offense and, on August 9, 1943, executed for treason. He was 36 years old, and he left behind a wife and three young daughters. Gradually his story became known, and the writings he left behind were disseminated, and people spoke of him as a martyr.
viz. Transcending Heidegger – The Cinema Of Terrence Malick
cf. Bonhoeffer Co-Opted
posted by kliuless at 11:19 PM on November 19, 2020 [4 favorites]

This was incredible to watch. Thank you, kmt
posted by jmhodges at 11:52 PM on November 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

i also very much enjoyed this. i also appreciated the way it invites the audience (by virtue of the medium too i suppose) to ask yourself the question. my sleep wasn't as disturbed as one of the characters but i'm still mulling over it.
posted by cendawanita at 8:08 PM on November 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

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