Sunshine (1999) 1080p

Movie Poster
Sunshine (1999) 1080p web - Movie Poster
Drama | History
Frame Rate:
23.976 fps
English 5.1  
Run Time:
181 min
IMDB Rating:
7.5 / 10 
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Directors: István Szabó [Director] ,

Movie Description:
The film follows a Jewish family living in Hungary through three generations, rising from humble beginnings to positions of wealth and power in the crumbling Austro-Hungarian Empire. The patriarch becomes a prominent judge but is torn when his government sanctions anti-Jewish persecutions. His son converts to Christianity to advance his career as a champion fencer and Olympic hero, but is caught up in the Holocaust. Finally, the grandson, after surviving war, revolution, loss and betrayal, realizes that his ultimate allegiance must be to himself and his heritage.


  • Sunshine (1999) 1080p web - Movie Scene 1
  • Sunshine (1999) 1080p web - Movie Scene 2
  • Sunshine (1999) 1080p web - Movie Scene 1

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Victims Of Ambition and Treachery - a Hungarian Saga

Not to be confused with Danny Boyle's later, only foray into sci-fi, this 'Sunshine' is quite a rare movie; I've not been aware of it ever being on TV.

Sunshine, though, features a very capable Ralph Fiennes, portraying three different men, in three different generations of the same Jewish family throughout the turmoils and futility of a warring Europe. This sounds a grand plan and mostly works, it being quite clear when a new era has been started, with Fiennes narrating a cross-over sort of stitching of stories, aided by newsreel to help us place it, time-wise.

Probably Hungary's most successful director, István Szabó has used English here, whereas two of his previous films that follow many of the themes explored here that I have seen and own, are in Hungarian: the Oscar winning (Foreign Language) Mephisto and later Colonel Redl. These starred the Austrian actor Klaus Maria Brandauer in brilliant and memorable performances.

However, especially when comparing to the earlier Brandauer films, this structure is its slight undoing. However hard Fiennes tries - and he is forced into some quite nasty, humiliating scenes, he is never on the levels attained by Brandauer. This time-frame structure also makes the three hour run-time slacken, the film lacks the urgency and tightness of the Hungarian films and whilst in English, with some familiar faces, it lacks the authenticity, too. However, at least having all the cast speaking the same 'region-free' English dialogue means it is not jarred by a sudden American one, which would spoil it, a bit.

However, the story remains an interesting one and the mood and feel never less than authentically and superbly realised, whilst handsome use of locations such as Vienna, Paris, Berlin and Budapest make for a visual feast. I've now just seen the film for the third time.

If you're expecting a nice, twee and gentle period drama, leave this one well alone - Szabó has always gone for realism - often graphically. Expect torture, nudity and very strong language - it all fits in and is never gratuitous but this does mean it's not one for Sunday afternoon with grandma and the kids.

I would also definitely recommend the two Hungarian Szabó's that I mention - Mephisto is easier to buy and is critically very admired. Colonel Redl I had to buy as a Korean import but that is a good transfer at a good price, if you can find an outlet.

An 'epic'

This is an 'epic' tale of three generations of a Hungarian Jewish family throughout the 20th century.

It has a slight 'slap in the face' quality. Nothing is left to the imagination, as at the beginning when, just in case you don't know what an exploding brewery looks like, you get to see one.

It's all very titillating; from grand sword fighting duels, sadism in concentration camps, OTT domestic arguments, to looking up Jennifer Ehle's skirt.

It was the director's brainchild. Watch the actors interviewed in the 'making of' say how brilliant he is in the most deadpan way, and what a pleasure it was for them to be involved in the execution of his master plan.
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