Ópium: Egy Elmebeteg Nö Naplója * János Szász * 2007

OpiumOpium, diary of a madwoman is a film with a perhaps not too original story, but which is well worked out. Also it is a Hungarian film and I haven’t seen much of those. Dr. Brenner is an opium addict and writer with a writer’s block. Also he is psychiatrist and agrees to an appointment at a remote psychiatrical hospital where he hopes to find inspiration to write again. Brenner’s modern methods (Jung) conflict with the “medieval methods” of Dr. Moravcsik who runs the hospital, but Moravcsik allows Brenner to try his methods on a hopeless patient called Gizella. Brenner is intrigued by Gizella, her illness and behaviour and also finds out that the forced writing of the young woman is better than he even hopes to write himself. The mad and unpredictable Gizella drains the life out of Brenner who starts to use more and more opium, but eventually his only writing inspiration is copying Gizella’s writings.
I know, I know, I give away much of the story, but it is mostly the atmosphere that makes this film a suggested watch. However “thriller” is a bit too much of a description, the film has some good, dark moments, but I would just call this film a drama. The acting is great, the stages are magnificent and inspite of the not-too-good English, the “Naked Lunch”-like commentary of Brenner is wonderfull.
So perhaps this means that the Balkan might be an area to look out for when it comes to films that are a bit different from all the rest. By the way, the IMDb page seems to suggest that the film was based on real diaries.
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3 comments

  1. Well, first of all the “not so original story” is so original that it’s based on tru stories, on a true diary. It’s not like some other films based on novels or books, it remained true to the real diary of Csáth Géza (Brenner József, the main character, who was a hungaryan writer), it even has the same dialogs he wrote and the mad woman’s writings are also true because a few parts of them are copied in Brenner’s own diary. So, my point is that the story is as real as it can be and I think it’s a great film, the actors are more than good and I loved it. My only problem is that I read a lot of comments about this film and people believe that hungaryans can only make such dramatic and “creepy” films like this. Well, they are wrong. There are many magnificent comedies too and love-story movies in hungary which are worth watching.

  2. It’s news to me that Hungary is on the Baltic…
    This is one of the saddest films I have ever seen, and I suspect the impression it’s left on me will linger for a long time.
    The music is beautifully integrated – Beethoven and Scarlatti.
    The central performances, particularly of the actress playing Gizella, are extraordinary.

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