When renowned film director Péter Gárdos wrote the story, he intended it as a film script, but eventually he made it into a novel. “Fever at Dawn,” the love story of two Holocaust survivors―the author’s parents―has ever since sold in more than 20 territories.
Would I be willing to write a review of this ground-breaking anthology of Hungarian literature in English translation, the editor of HLO asked. "No" was my instant reply, I simply couldn't. It would be simpler to write about why I could not. A foolish reflex. Why not write about why not was the response.
"GYŐZŐ: Pest, the big smoke, is full of labouring proles, / Juicy with gossip about us on the hill. / Down there the streets are cordoned off. Cops know / They need not cordon streets off up in Buda.
KÁLMÁN: I’m faintly aware of a sickening distant buzz: / Here we go again: they’re burning cars. / Here we go again: uproot that call-box. / Here we go again: the piercing sirens. / Here we go again: streets full of teargas."
Béla Tarr's first feature film since Werckmeister Harmonies (2000) is based on a mystery novel by Georges Simenon, but it is no ordinary crime story. The mystery is not the identity of the robbers and murderers, but what takes place in people’s hearts.