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Gloomy Sunday(Ein Lied von Liebe und Tod – Gloomy Sunday)

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Germany, Hungary · 1999
1h 52m
Director Rolf Schübel
Starring Erika Marozsán, Joachim Król, Ben Becker, Stefano Dionisi
Genre Drama, Romance

András, a pianist who is hired to play in a local restaurant, falls in love with Ilona, a waitress. The fragile balance of the erotic ménage à trois is sent further off kilter when two other men fall in love with Ilona. As a profession of his love, András composes a piece with a melancholic melody that eventually triggers a chain of suicides and he and Ilona must confront this mystery.

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What are critics saying?


Variety by Derek Elley

The iconic '30s song "Gloomy Sunday" gets a distinctive celluloid setting in this well-played, cleverly scripted pic in which music and character are inextricably combined.


Village Voice by Edward Crouse

Dissolving four characters' lives into the dank smoke of the bitterest of torch songs, Gloomy Sunday fashions an apocryphal, pretty, and somewhat pat biography of the title ballad.


Chicago Reader by J.R. Jones

The Holocaust subplot is contrived and schematic. Yet the central love triangle is fairly compelling, aided by Krol's fine performance.


Wall Street Journal by Joe Morgenstern

Who knew that one of Billie Holiday's most haunting songs was written in Budapest in the 1930s? I didn't until I saw Gloomy Sunday, a German film, shot in Hungary and directed by Rolf Schubel, that I enjoyed quite a lot, even though it's all over the map in more ways than one.


Los Angeles Times by Kevin Thomas

A beautiful period piece, set against one of the world's glorious cities, adding poignancy. Twists and turns heighten a gradually accruing effect, building to a risky moment of truth, a coup de théâtre that is as daring as it is satisfying.


The A.V. Club by Noel Murray

Gloomy Sunday's success in transcending its own clichés and conventionality -- at least until the morose finale -- is due in part to the story's primal romantic pull, aided by attractive actors who either stare longingly into each other's eyes or cavort in states of undress.


Chicago Sun-Times by Roger Ebert

It's an old-fashioned romantic triangle, told with schmaltzy music on the sound track and a heroine with a smoky singing voice, and then the Nazis turn up and it gets very complicated and heartbreaking.


L.A. Weekly by Scott Foundas

There's a whiff of exploitation about any movie that claims the Holocaust as a “backdrop,” and Rolf Schübel’s treacly tale of three men lovesick for the same blue-eyed beauty fairly reeks of it.

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