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Budapest in the thirties. The restaurant owner Laszlo hires the pianist András to play in his restaurant. Both men fall in love with the beautiful waitress Ilona who inspires András to his only composition. His song of Gloomy Sunday is, at first, loved and then feared, for its melancholic melody triggers off a chain of suicides. The fragile balance of the erotic ménage à trois is sent off kilter when the German Hans goes and falls in love with Ilona as well.Written by
Rolf Schubel, the director, has created a movie around a menage a trois that was very civilized. Ilona loves Joachim, but she also loves Andras, the piano player. Andras, is the composer of the suicide provoking song that was the rage of the 30s in Budapest, as well as in the rest of Europe.
The setting is a somehow fancy restaurant in Budapest at the onset of World War II. Laszlo, the owner, is having an affair with Ilona, his assistant, who also works at the restaurant. Enter Andras: Ilona is instantly smitten by his good looks, his obvious youth, in contrast with Joachim, who is much older but might not be exactly what she wants to find between her sheets. Joachim goes along with the very civilized arrangement among them. One night is spent with Andras and the next one with Laszlo, who after all, is the one with the money and paying the bill!
Of course, the story is too good to be true. There is Hans, the young German who adores the fine cuisine offered at the restaurant and is taken with Ilona's beauty. Hans will return as a Nazi officer and he'll be the force that destroys the happiness of this trio and who, at the end, has to pay for the horrible things he did in his youth. This part was very predictable, since one knows after seeing so many stories like this, it always ends tragically because of Nazis, even friendly ones, as Hans was, deep down inside hates Joachim because he had what he never could have, Ilona. Therefore, Joachim will have to disappear from the picture.
The film is easy to watch. The melody will stay with the viewer forever, but alas, like a good Hungarian dishes, too much paprika will spoil the goulash.
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