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Vakvagany


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Product Details

  • Actors: Dr. Roy Menninger, Stan Brakhage, James Ellroy
  • Directors: Benjamin Meade
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English, Hungarian
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • DVD Release Date: May 1, 2003
  • Run Time: 86 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 4565260123
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #623,629 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Vakvagany" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Customer Reviews

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See all 6 customer reviews
They state the obvious, ramble, and over-intellectualize.
Jerry Call
In all of the interviews the only thing which really sheds any light on the old home movies is learning that the boy in the old movies is mentally challenged.
John Black
I'm hungarian and I understand the hungarian words in the movie.
Daniel Takacs

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By JOHN A. STEVENS on December 5, 2003
Format: DVD
I came across a reference to this film over a year ago on James Ellroy's website; the material sounded fascinating: 'found' home movies which seemed to depict questionable parenting, interpretative commentary provided by three respectable individuals, and follow-up footage of the surviving subjects. On finally viewing this work, I discovered some grainy black and white home movies which the most dramatically exaggerated interpretations could not make interesting, very awkwardly filmed contemporary footage (during which the repeated demands that the filmmakers turn their cameras off are ignored), long, long stretches of untranslated Hungarian, scenes of an obviously mentally disabled man being plied with alcohol to secure his cooperation and the subsequent public urination of said alcohol, and the breaking-and-entering of someone's home on the pretext of "assuring her welfare" and then refusing her repeated demands that they cease filming her and violating her privacy. In short, excruciating dull stretches punctuated by excruciatingly inhumane moments. I look forward to not seeing this movie ever again.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Call on May 20, 2004
Format: DVD
I cannot recommend this documentary, but I'm afraid that, like me, you'll find yourself drawn into it. Watching "Vakvagany" is sort of like rubber-necking when you drive by the scene of an accident; it's human nature to gawk at others' misfortunes. The scenario is truly intriguing: the directors comes across a family's often disconcerting home movies and attempt to track down the children in them. What they find are two badly damaged human beings who belong in a mental institution. We are left to decide if what we see in the home movies wrecked these people. Unfortunately, the directors enlist three "analysts," who spend far too much time trying to figure out the home movies and the children. They state the obvious, ramble, and over-intellectualize. Worst of all is the utter contempt the directors show for the now-adult children, going so far as to break into one's home. Even the music, some kind of neo-Hungarian cabaret, trivializes the daily struggles of Erno, the male child. Had the directors kept their vile attitudes out of the film, it would have been a solid documentary.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Budas Root on August 29, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I'm dismayed by the one-sided reviews of this film, so I thought I would try to counterbalance them somewhat. I ended up buying this in spite of the negative warning reviews, and I found it entrancing and fascinating. It's as if Bela Tarr and John Waters co-directed a mock documentary based on some themes from Michael Powell's Peeping Tom. If you like any of those guys -- or if you are a fan of director Stan Brakhage (as I am), who gets a lot of screen time here -- you will probably like this film.

It seems to me that this film may be a very clever put-on, rather than a strict documentary, in which the outrageous footage (both from the present day as well as the postwar-era "home movies") is meant to probe our own responses to issues of trauma, abuse, voyeurism and exploitation. In any event, the film deserves a more thoughtful response than the kind of moral outrage which has become a shallow, trendy way of not dealing with art that refuses to uphold our view of who the good guys are supposed to be and who the bad guys are supposed to be.

In other words, how would we even know that social outsiders are still downtrodden if it wasn't for artists who are willing to present them at the extreme of their pain and pathos, and why do we try to protect and dignify these outsiders by criticizing the artists who present their plight honestly? Not everyone "overcomes" injustice in the end, in spite of our sanctimonious need to believe that they do. Not only individual lives are flushed away, but entire nations, and someone has to record these human losses.
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