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Sunshine 2000 R CC

The fate of a Hungarian Jewish family throughout the 20th century.

Starring:
Ralph Fiennes, Rosemary Harris
Runtime:
3 hours, 0 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Military & War, Drama, Romance
Director István Szabó
Starring Ralph Fiennes, Rosemary Harris
Supporting actors Rachel Weisz, Jennifer Ehle, Deborah Kara Unger, Molly Parker, James Frain, David de Keyser, John Neville, Miriam Margolyes, Rüdiger Vogler, Mark Strong, Bill Paterson, Trevor Peacock, Hanns Zischler, Mari Töröcsik, Katja Studt, Péter Andorai, Péter Halász, William Hurt
Studio Paramount
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Charles Andrews on July 4, 2001
Format: DVD
I am totally mystified by those reviewers who pan the film for trivial issues such as accents, lack of gray hairs etc. I don't believe these people paid attention to a wonderful film that never was promoted in the US.
Having just left Budapest, I feel the nature of the city and Hungarian cultural were accurately displayed. Hungary is atypical of Europe. Its language, history, and culture are derivative from sources other than all the rest of eastern Europe. They are unique and the film is excellent at pointing this out.
The criticism that the communist were portrayed as worse than the Nazi is correct, however, for anyone who has been to Budapest, you know this to be true. The Hungarians were not defeated by the Nazi's, they chose Germany. They've watch their country parceled out to other nations for twice choosing the German side in thr two world wars. The communists allowed the country and most notably Budapest to decay slowly over time. The proud Hungarians are only beginning to restore the their heritage. Sunshine poignantly shows the neglect and the price the Hungarians (all Hungarians) paid.
This was a character piece, not a history lesson, suspense, or mystery. The acting was superb on all levels. Fiennes clearly provdes his best performance since The English Patient. Szabo can't be faulted for injecting a certain amount of passion for Hungary into the film.
Finally, the cinematagraphy keeps perfect tune with the tempo of the film. I didn't realize it was a three hour film. I only regretted that it came to an end, a generation too soon.
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Format: DVD
This 1999 film directed by Istvan Szabo, although three hours long, has a lot going for it. Set in Hungary the movie covers three generations of a Hungarian Jewish family, the Sonnenscheins. In the late 19th Century, Ignatz; his brother Gustave and his adopted sister Hannah; who is his natural cousin and whom he marries, change their names to "Sors" in order to "assimilate" into Hungarian society. Ignatz's son Adam even converts to Roman Catholicism and wins a medal in fencing in the 1936 Olympics. After silently witnessing his father die at the hands of the Nazis, the third generation Sonnenschein/Sors son Ivan attempts to avenge his father's death by joining Stalin's Communist Party.

Ralph Fiennes (lately in "The Constant Gardener") plays all three of the Ignantz/Adam/Ivan characters through three generations and does it admirably. The young Hannah is played by Jennifer Ehle; the older Hannah by Rosemary Harris, the mother of Ehle in real life. William Hurt plays Ivan's friend Knorr. Both the score and filming are beautifully done. Many of the war and concentration camp scenes are shot in black and white.

The sad theme is easily stated. In the eyes of oppressors it matters not if you change your name or not. If you choose to hate a whole nation of people because of who they are, nothing will stop you. Even though the film is all about the awfulness of anti-Semitism, there is sunshine here in the resiliant character Hannah who "breathed freely" and always looked for the beautiful to photograph.

Even through three hours long, this film is well worth your time, both for the all-to-relevant theme and the fine acting.
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Format: DVD
"Sunshine" is a fast-paced choronicle of a Jewish family for three generations, who had to live amid the stormy history of Hungary. Ralph Fiennes (known for his role in "English Patient") plays three roles here: Ignatz, an elite judge under the Hungarian empire; Adam, his son and an Olympic gold medalist for fencing; and Ivan, Adam's son and an officer under Stalinism.
The impressive cast include the following: Jennifer Ehle (Elizabeth of "Pride and Prejudice"); Rosemary Harris ("Tom and Viv" "Spider-man" and known as Jennifer's real-life mother); Rachel Weisz ("The Mummy"); Deborah Kara Unger ("Crush"); James Frain ("Count of Monte Cristo"); John Neville (TV's "X-Files"); and always good William Hurt and Molly Parker.
The film starts with the origin of the prospering family Sonnenschein when the great-great grandfather of the narrator Ivan Sonnenschein finds a secret recipe for medicine, which becomes an instant hit, and the family make a fortune. But a terrible accident kills him, leaving behind the money and the recipe. Until here, it takes only about five minutes. Then, you must realize that "Sunshine" does not use an ordinary, traditional storytelling.
Sure, as I said, Ralph Fiennes plays three roles in this three-hour film, which means, you are going to see three one-hour sections that cover three generations; first, our hero under Hungarian monarchy; second, him before and during the Nazi occupation; last, him under the totalitarian government during Stalinism. The film reflects three eras of Hungary, none of which are stable or peaceful. Of course, the film is about the Sonnenscheins, but at the same time it is about the turbulent history of the country.
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Format: VHS Tape
A brilliant film with exceptional performances by all, this isn't just the story of Hungarian Jews, but of Jews throughout Europe, especially Germany etc. Assimillation and it's dangers provide the core theme of the film for attempting to give up one's identity never provided these Jews with the safety net they had hoped for. Jew, or converted Jew to Christianity, or a Jew married to a Christian gave no safe harbor for anyone with Jewish association or blood when the time came for the barricades to go up. Honor, heroism, deep roots in a country's history, national acclaim etc, none of these things saved the few arrogant and many naive and frightened--all innocents--from the torments of the Holocaust and Communist oppression.

Some of the scenes are not fit for children, not even with an adult with them. (And I mean the scenes of violence, not sex scenes of which there are some and of which some critic here said, "I was absolutely disgusted by the unnecessary, filthy, and disgusting sex scenes, which, to me, seemed like pornography.". None if it is pornographic. Let's face it, even Jews like sex :). I've watched this film twice and just got rid of my VHS version and bought the Letterboxed DVD. Can't wait to watch that one!
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