Starring: Ralph Fiennes, William Hurt
Director: Istvan Szabo
Sunshine is the sort of film some adults go to on a blistering hot summer’s day when the arctic air-conditioning of the modern cinema is a welcome relief.
At three hours, it is a strong, complex, long, lyrical and intense film, but is worth every effort you make to see it and gives great value for money.
Set in Hungary and covering six decades of the 20th century, Sunshine is an epic period drama, detailing the story of three generations of the Jewish Sonnenschein family. Ralph Fiennes brilliantly portrays the central character in each generation.
In the mid-1800s, Emmanuel Sonnenschein discovers a recipe for the potion he calls, “A Taste of Sunshine”. The family fortune is made.
In 1900, Emmanuel’s grandson Ignatz breaks with the family company and seeks to become a lawyer. To progress to the bench in anti-Semitic Hungary, he changes his name to the less obvious Sors, but in the process loses so much more.
Ignatz’s son Adam (Ralph Fiennes) is a champion fencer. He has the opportunity to compete at the Berlin Olympics, but is excluded because he is a Jew. He converts to Catholicism and competes for Hungary, but it counts for nothing when the Nazis roll in.
Adam’s son Ivan (also played by Ralph Fiennes) is a Communist who exacts confessions from others. Soon his tortured family history and lack of identity makes him face up to confessing his own faults, and those of this ancestors.
Sunshine is an old-fashioned film in the best sense. Szabo is attracted to family melodramas with political intrigue as his previous films, Colonel Redl and Mephisto, show.
Wait for a hot afternoon and steal away to a matinee of Sunshine. You won’t be disappointed.