Thursday, Dec. 18, 2003

Gloomy Sunday

A restaurant in pre-war Budapest; a menage a trois involving its owner, its head-waitress and its piano player; the growing threat of Nazism; the composition of the famous, eponymous ballad — out of such unlikely materials writer-director Rolf Schubel has composed an emotionally lush, formally elegant movie, rich in romantic rue and grace. Touched but not dominated by anti-Semitic terror, it reaches one those rare surprise endings that is both morally bracing and morally balancing — and utterly right.