Reactionrecreation by Anders Østergaard, Erzsébet Rácz, Denmark 2014

When the young accountant Miklós Németh unexpectedly gets elected prime minister of Hungary in 1988, few knew what consequences that would have for Hungary, the Eastern block and, indeed, the world. Through overdubbing, re-enactments and archive footage, the story of how the Iron Curtain fell is told.

The late 80’s and early 90’s was a period of turmoil and changes in Europe, and though I was young, I can relate. We (as in my generation and older) are all fairly knowledgable on the events in East Germany leading to the fall of the wall, and the Glasnost and Perestrojka initiative of Michail Gorbachev, but I, for one, was a bit fuzzy on the importance Hungary played, and especially their approach to the border to their long-last ally Austria. Through the innovative use of overdubbing archive footage, sometimes with voice actors, sometimes with the actual people portrayed, there’s a fresh take on documentary story-telling, and I like; the obviously bad lip-synch is noteble for about a minute, after which you don’t really give it a second thought. Probably, like all documentaries, it’s a bit lopsided, but it seems that it just might be the death of one man, an East German who tried using the Hungarian-Austrian border to flee the eastern block, who tilted the political leanings which led to the confusion that later allowed the Berlin wall to fall. Possibly.

Bechdel test: Fail

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