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Sunshine

Director:Istvan Szab¢
Writers:Istvan Szab¢ and Israel Horovitz
Paramount Classics; R; 180 minutes
Release:6/00
Cast:Ralph Fiennes, Jennifer Ehle, Rosemary Harris

A lengthy historical drama featuring Ralph Fiennes whose only understatement is the title: Sunshine. It chronicles three generations of Hungarian Jews as they grapple with personal commitments, faith, and troubled identities across two world wars. Oscar-winning director Istvan Szab¢ gives each generation an hour to unfold, sketching the century via one family's experience. Fiennes plays the patriarch each time around (grandfather, father, son), a misstep that detracts from the force of this ambitious film. Imperialism, nationalism, and communism are the politics wrestled with, alongside the constant threat of anti-Semitism. Real-life mother-and-daughter pair Rosemary Harris and Jennifer Ehle stand out in this film of hearty, occasionally melodramatic fare. Their twin performances capture the intricacies of life without political frameworks that, as often as not, sour into the abuse of power and disrespect for the very humanity they sought to uplift.


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