Hungary, 1975, 89 minutes, Black and white.
Kati Berek, Laszlo Szabo.
Directed by Marta Meszaros.
Adoption is a fine Hungarian film. It was co-written and directed by Marta Meszaros, a distinguished Hungarian director from the '60s through the '70s. The film is about a middle-aged woman, who has no children of her own, and befriends a teenager from an orphanage. The friendship between the two women is beautifully highlighted, and the final decision for the central character to adopt the girl. There is a background of women working in factories, the middle-aged woman having an affair with a married man and the encounter with his wife, the bureaucracy administering the orphanages, the parents who neglect the girl in the orphanage. The photography is in black and white and is strong in light and shadow, the focus in lengthy shots of profiles and faces. The audience is invited to share this experience of the central character and understand something of the middle-aged woman. Adoption is a very well made and moving film.
1. The impact of the film? Human drama? Hungarian? Universal?
2. Black and white photography, the frequent use of close ups? The brevity of the running time? Musical score?
3. A woman's film? The screenplay and the direction? The understanding of women, the feel of needs, love? Women from the inside? The social place of women in Hungary? Mother love, daughter love, friendship?
4. The portrait of Kata: the accuracy of the portrayal, how sensitive the presentation, how incisive the portrait and its comment on middle-aged women? Her beauty, age, strengths, weaknesses? The affair with Joska and its effect on her? Her going to the doctor to find whether she could have children? Her longing for a child? The scenes of her working in the factory, the other women, the health hazards? Her home and her feeling at home? The encounter with the girls from the orphanage? The attraction towards Anna? Helping her, inviting her home? The effect of Annals stay with her? Her allowing Sangi to visit Anna? The growth of the relationship? Annals rebellion? The dealings with the authorities of the orphanage, the rules of staying out, adoption? Anna and Kata going to the restaurant and enjoying the music, the meal? Her tears when Joska failed to come? Her visit to his home, the irony and pathos of the visit and the encounter with the wife? The confrontation with Joska? The visit to Annals parents with the authority? The build up to the adoption? Anna as her daughter? Kata's needs, capacity for love and giving, for help? The relationship with Anna giving her hope?
5. Anna and the girls from the orphanage, teenagers in a group, the curiosity about Kata and Joska? Their observing them? Anna and the friendship with Kata, the scenes with Sangi, the sexual relationship, young love? The background of her parents and finding her difficult? Her feeling at home with Kata? Her reacting irritably against her? The authorities at the orphanage? The possibility of Anna to become Kata's daughter?
6. Joska, the married man, the affair, his work, wife, lies, excuses, unwillingness for Kata to have a child? His breaking of the liaison?
7. The contrast with Sangi and his youth. coming to visit Anna, young love? His care for Anna?
8. The picture of the orphans, the orphanage, rules, bureaucracy? How striking was the visit to Annals parents?
9. The hard parents and their callous attitudes towards their daughter? Their hardness towards Kata?
10. The suddenness of the ending ? the hope for a successful relationship? Insight into love, mothers, daughters, friendship?