Snail Fortress


Hlemýždí pevnost

  • Deszo Zsigmond
  • Hungary
  • 2004, 62 min
Photography: Arthur Bíliny
Editing: Lili Fodor
Sound: Balázs Balog
Music: Miklós Szederkényi
Color: Colour

Although Terezka is almost forty years old, she still lives, single and childless, in a village in Transylvania, a place that is well-known for the nearby snail fortress. She lives with her parents, who treat her like an overgrown child, and with Dezsökem, a divorced, single man, whose love for Terezka is not reciprocated. In his second film Zsigmond documents an ordinariness and everydayness filled with indifference. The tension in the relationship between parents and daughter, her inability to free herself from them and live on her own, evokes a melancholy mood that seeps into the glances and gestures of the film’s lonely heroes and into every aspect of the life of one Hungarian mountain village.

This village farmyard with its everyday drama is the backdrop for the process of ageing, which cannot be turned back by a trip in the car or by roses put aside at the local discotheque. It would appear that the camera could not be any closer to the reality of people’s lives than when it unfurls before us the ordinary days of one rural family, the imminence in their lives, fatigued and banal. The unique and spare richness of the director’s approach is not intended to uncover or infer anything; the aim is just bring us intimately close to a person and her private dimensions, a person without dreams or expectations who turns to rural harmony for her fixed points in life - the farmyard, the church, the local pub - to hold on to in the short time between birth and death. Simplicity and restraint form the essential plain of apathy, where time elapses in the existence between long lonely looks and bitter arguments at the family dinner table. Without noticing it we find ourselves also drawn into this space, cut off by the film we cease to have longings or hope in anything, hovering somewhere beyond life, we are no longer able to resist.

Photo Gallery

Dunatáj Alapítvány / Hungary /
Festival edition: 2005
Sections: Between the Seas
Awards: Best Central and East European Documentary Film
Exhibition format: Beta SP


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