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Deep into the Second World War and in the heart of Hungary, whose government has chosen to align itself with the Axis Powers, a small unit of soldiers hunt down any partisan opposition. Amongst them is Corporal István Semetka (Ferenc Szabó). Fatigued, having had no leave for eight months, he barely holds on to the last vestiges of humanity that the brutality and horror of conflict has ground down. The soldiers are loathed by the villagers they encounter and in some cases for good reason. However, Semetka is ruthless but he is not cruel. Following the death of his commander, he takes charge, but as opposition to the pro-Nazi forces grows, sterner measures are required and Semetka realises he has no stomach for the orders that arrive. Winner of the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, Natural Light comprises some extraordinary imagery. But if the film’s aesthetic evinces a striking visual poetry, its performances echo the battle-scarred faces of Elem Klimov’s 1985 masterpiece Come and See. Like Aleksei Kravchenko’s protagonist in that film, Szabo’s Semetka has seen too much to show emotion. The same can be said of the other characters he encounters, most of whom are played by non-professional actors.
DURATION: 103 Mins
COUNTRIES: France, Germany, Hungary
LANGUAGES: Hungarian, Russian