Karambol (1964, Hungary)

Yesterday, for the first time, I watched a full movie on YouTube. “Karambol” (“Collision” in English) is a 1964, Hungarian black and white movie, directed by Félix Máriássy. As I didn’t find the story’s outline anywhere online let me recap first what it is about.

The central character is a careless brute. “Gyula Terpinkó”, played by the unrecognizably young István Bujtor, is a very strong man, who lives his life without giving any thought or attention to anything or anybody. He works in a factory, when he feels like it, he picks up girls, when he feels like it, he eats a whole cake for bet. He marries a girl when she says no to his advances, so he could get under her skirts, but next morning he throws her out. His exact opposite is “Eva Koos”, played by Zsuzsa Balogh, an 18 year old who has been working hard in her blue collar for a long time, because she had to earn money for her family and trying to finish school by studying at night. She is smart, ambitious and has good grades. She meets a man in lab, who convinces her, when she has doubts, to keep going to school. Soon they marry and are happy ever since. Meanwhile Terpinkó gets into the factory’s weight-lifting team, and gets a new job, to work under the supervision of Koos. He falls for her without even knowing it and for the first time in his life he stops being careless and attempts to lure her not just with his brute force. She doesn’t care for him, but sees both the amusing clown in him that he is and the dangerous man that he can be. The title of the movie refers to th framing of the movie. It opens with the lovesick Terpinkó chasing on a motorocycle Koos and her huband in a car. Then we go back in time and learn all of the above. Only the movie’s very end shows exactly what happened at their “collision.”

A few memorable points from the movie:

  • When Terpinkó goes to a museum with the man who tries to expand his horizon and two adoring, giggling girls they take a batch of balloons with them. The contrasting of the vulgar ballons and the religiously themed oil paintings from centuries ago is a nice image even if I am aware that it is intended to show the value of high culture against low culture.
  • The voice of the actor Zoltán Latinovits, who played the husband of Koos, is still amazing. You pay attention to him. Particularly if his is the only character that has any philosophical inkling in the flick. E.g.
    “Ha egy ember eljut odaig, hogy tisztaban van azzal, hogy mennyi mindent nem tud … azzal mar lehet ertelmesen beszelni.” (If one reaches the stage that he is aware of all the things he doesn’t know… with that person, you can have a meaningful conversation.)
  • The material culture, i.e. the objects indoors and outdoors, of the movie made me nostalgic for an age I never experienced. I was born four years after the movie, but remember from my childhood some of the buses and tramways show here. I don’t think I visited too many pubs as a child, but looking at them in this movie made me remember their atmosphere. It was not a good or bad feeling, just a memory of times and places that are irrecoverably gone.

Watch the movie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *