As long as I’m writing about foreign films, here’s a review I wrote for Epinions in 2011 about the 2006 Hungarian movie, Men in the Nude. If I recall correctly, when I posted this review on Facebook, I lost at least one Facebook friend. Fortunately, he wasn’t actually a friend. I guess the guy was offended by the words “homosexual experimentation”. I should watch more foreign films. They are interesting, even if I do have to read the subtitles. By the way, this wasn’t a porn film. My review appears here “as/is”.
Writer’s block plus mid life crisis equals homosexual experimentation
I’m not quite sure how I ended up with the 2006 Hungarian art film Men in the Nude in my Netflix queue. I think I might have added it because I watched a few interesting Romanian films last year and wondered if I’d like Hungarian cinema as much. In any case, having had this DVD in my possession for the past couple of weeks, I finally sat down to watch it. It’s entirely in Hungarian, so actually watching the film is a must to get the gist of what’s going on. There are subtitles at the bottom of the screen.
The film starts off promising enough, with a shot of the iconic Budapest train station. Having walked around there with my husband Bill, I immediately felt oriented. Then, once the setting shifts to a Hungarian restaurant where our protagonist, Tibor (László Gálffi), is on the phone with his wife (Éva Kerekes), things are less familiar.
Tibor is a writer and has been on the road promoting his book. He’s suffering from writer’s block and appears to be pretty bored with his life. After ringing off his cell phone and paying the check at the restaurant, he goes to a large bookstore where his book is being sold. He listens to a Schubert CD and gazes at a table filled with copies of his latest book. Suddenly, he is confronted by a young, blond, charismatic looking man who asks him to inscribe a copy of the book. After Tibor writes a dedication, the man goes to pay for the book, but “conveniently” has no money. Tibor offers to pay for it as the young man runs out of the store, setting off alarms. He has stolen the Schubert disc as “repayment” for Tibor’s generosity.
Tibor later learns that his admirer is a 19 year old male prostitute named Zsolt (Dávid Szabó). Though Tibor is married to a woman and lives a straight life, he is drawn in by Zsolt’s charisma. The two begin a relationship and suddenly Tibor is able to write again. Tibor becomes alive through his fling with Zsolt, who excites him and inspires his creativity. Things become complicated when his wife, a blonde, narcissistic, has-been actress discovers their affair.
Initially, I was kind of interested in this film. The story is certainly intriguing, especially for a straight, American woman like me who has little experience with films involving homosexual relationships. I thought Dávid Szabó was very watchable and seductive in his portrayal of Zsolt. I could see why Tibor, a man who had always considered himself heterosexual, would be lured by his charms. Szabó seems to have mastered “come hither” looks. He has a beautiful, androgynous look to him and expertly flirts with the camera and Tibor.
About halfway through the film, my attention began to wane. I started to notice how cheesy the soundtrack was, aside from the classical pieces that were included. I lost interest in the story. The sex scenes were not as fascinating and I started wondering when the film was going to end, even though it runs for a respectably brief 90 minutes or so.
Though there is some nudity in this film, it’s mostly very tasteful. I don’t remember seeing any full frontal nudity, though there are plenty of naked bum shots and at least one shot of a topless woman. There are both heterosexual and homosexual sex scenes as well. I looked up this film on Amazon.com and noticed that the suggestive sell efforts seemed to point toward gay skin flicks. I would say this movie is more like an indie art film than a skin flick. Don’t be fooled by the cover art on the DVD. It’s definitely not pornography.
I’m glad I watched this film because I like to broaden my experiences with foreign films. Even a badly done foreign film can be more intriguing than a lot of American films. That being said, this movie did not hold my attention like the Romanian films I watched last year that inspired me to broaden my movie repertoire. I’m sure some viewers will get caught up in the story and get more out of Men in the Nude than I did. For me, this film was just “eh”.
Men in the Nude is not rated. It was directed and written by Károly Esztergályos.
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