Widowed, financially secure and involved with a married man, forty-three year old Kata yearns for the motherhood she instinctively knows will push her out of personal ambivalence. Though having little in common, Kata befriends Anna, a rebellious teenage girl consigned to a woman's shelter and unaccustomed to anything more than perfunctory charity. In spite of mind games and harsh words, an unlikely bond grows between the two women. Kata's yearning for the clarity of motherhood inadvertently exposes the vulnerability underneath Anna's cynical bad-girl exterior: As their relationship grows, Kata probes the limits of her middle-aged limbo just as Anna resists the suffocation of a youth stripped of hope.
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During this time, Kata develops a friendship with Anna, a teenaged girl with a troubled past who lives at a state run shelter for delinquents and orphans. Kata experiences empathy and fondness for Anna as she reveals the reasons she misbehaved which includes unloving parents who contributed to her despair that led to her acting out. Anna has had a physical relationship with a young man in the village where they live for about a year. The couple want to marry but she is underage and can not get her parents consent. Márta Mészáros provides a deeply sensitive and revealing film in black and white which explores the emotional dilemmas felt by all the characters who are portrayed with stark reality and an honesty seldom found in films. It is no surprise this film won the "Golden Bear" award at the Berlin Film Festival in 1975. Needless to say, the film quietly provides satifactory resolutions to the personal dilemmas with which each character was grappling ... Open dialogue, unexpected realistic acting, deep explorations of complicated emotions make this film an outstanding viewing experience. Erika Borsos [pepper flower]
Kata (Katalin Berek) has been having an affair with Joska (Laszlo Szabo), who is married with children. Kata says she doesn't mind, in fact the two have decided Joska should not get a divorce but, at age 43 Kata decides she wants to have a baby. She knows what Joska's answer will be to her plea to having his baby, but she asks anyway. He of course says no. She is too old to have a child and he doesn't need the added responsibilty. Still Kata is lonely and wants a child.
Kata meets Anna (Gyongyver Vigh) an orphan who has been in instititues since the age of six. The two form a friendship as Anna is looking for a place she and her boyfriend Sandor can meet since they do not have money to buy or rent a place. Kata agrees, she wants the company.
The two form a friendship which seems to resemble a mother-daughter relationship. Perhaps Kata sees herself in the young girl. Maybe she is the daughter she never had. For a film called "Adoption" the movie is actually not about the adoption itself. It doesn't follow Kata going through the adoption process. The movie is really about love. A woman's basic urge to nuture and be a mother.
As Kata and Anna's friendship grows Kata discovers Anna would like to marry her boyfriend. So Kata tries to get Anna's parents to consent to the marriage. But, for someone as unstable as Anna, can she truly love? Would marriage be right for someone like her?
There was another Hungarian film made a few years before this one called "Szerelem", which translated into English means love. It was directed by Karoly Makk. There are some comparisons between the films. Both films deal with women relationships. In "Szerelem" it was about a mother and daughter-in-law. Both films are about age. Kata is old enough to be Anna's mother. And finally both films are simply about love. "Szerelem" has elements politics in it. It deals with life in Communist Hungary. "Adoption" doesn't get bogged down in Hungarian politics.
The director, Marta Meszaros may not be as well known as Jansco or Szabo or even Bela Tarr but her films are first rate. She was something of a femminist director. Her movies always revolve around women and women problems, i.e. motherhood, men, dating. But, as a man, I can tell you, these films are not what you would described as "chick flicks". These are engaging human films beautifully acted and wonderfully directed. Meszaros knows how to pace her films. "Adoption" for instance is only 82 minutes. Relatively short but it packs a dramatic wallop. Any more and the film would over stay its welcome and become repetitive.
When released in 1975 "Adoption" won the top prize at the Berlin International Film Festival. Many of Meszaros' films were critical hits. If your interested in Hungarian films or if you are about to watch your first Hungarian film "Adoption" is well worth seeing. Especially if you know little about Hungary's history.
Bottom-line: One of the all time great films of Hungarian cinema. Marta Meszaros' film is accessible to all people. It is a story about love and a women's urge to motherhood.