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Manhood Review

FIPRESCI Warsaw Critics Project 2017 2017-10-23


Before directing his debut feature, Hungarian filmmaker Peter Politzer gained considerable experience as a film editor. That is why it is not surprising that, in Manhood, the director's main storytelling instrument is montage. He tells us a tale of three generations of people living in Budapest. If D.W. Griffith, in his 1916 movie Intolerance, employed parallel editing to emphasize thematic similarities across different epochs, here Politzer articulates the continuity of phenomena.

Manhood follows three men at various stages of their life in Budapest. Samu (Samu Fischer) is a 13-year-old football fan who dreams of becoming a successful athlete. Deszo (Martin Szipal) is a 91-year-old man whose life is associated with photography and love stories. Forty-year-old bassist Frank (Peter Vass) has a life full of difficulties. Politzer visualizes these lives with a geometric and sculptural visual accuracy. When Deszo speaks in voiceover, while we observe his activities , the impression is that he has been deprived of the right to speak.

The director dramatizes this scenario with black-and-white imagery, although the film seems more gray than black-and-white. This is partly a reflection on our routine and hopeless life. A soundtrack of jazz compositions partly neutralizes this tension, as does humor, which adds comedy.

We can ask a question: what is the ideological or political base of Manhood? The answer is difficult, because the director does not make the meaning or message of his stories clear. The story is not complex. The cinematographer's camera is watching the events and observing heroes from a spiritual perspective. However, it is important to have a deep study of the background where they have to exist. Their "idea of success" is elusive, because the high class determines it.

In this case, Politzer's cinematic language is only descriptive and he just fixes the lives of heroes. Sometimes such narrative techniques are justified, and the film becomes interesting from many perspectives. But in this case, this solution is ineffective. The emotional and intellectual self-reflection on this film becomes difficult for the audience. There is no key episode (a direct and radical scene) in which we see that the protagonists have more or less identical problems; This is the reason for the film’s lack of catharsis.


FIPRESCI Young Critics Warsaw Project

Monika Gimbutaitė, Lithuania
Monika Gimbutaitė, born in 1993 in Lithuania, graduated from Vilnius Academy of Arts, Art Theory and History programme. For three and a half years she held the position of a programme coordinator at European Film Forum Scanorama. She is currently working as culture journalist for, the second biggest news website in Lithuania.

Alexander Gabelia, Georgia
Georgian film journalist and activist. He's a political refugee from Abkhazia. Alexander studied history of cinema and Cinematography at Ilia State University. He writes about cinema and culture in various prints and online outlets including LIBERALI.GE, AHA.GE and he’s a cinema reviewer for on-line magazine – He’s been also involved into Tbilisi International Film Festival and Cinedoc Tblisi.
Arman Fatić, BosniaArman Fatić is Bosnian film critic/journalist currently based in Maribor, Slovenia where he is studying philosophy at Faculty of Arts Maribor. He is a writer for several websites/magazines across balkans some of which are, and His main fields of interest as a film critic are society problems in general and philosophical/religious symbolism in movies. 

Jakub Wanat, Poland
Film-lover, cinema-goer, festival-fanatic. Both cinema and writing are my biggest passions, so I decided to combine them, which basically means I killed two birds with one stone.  It all started with MAGIEL, Poland's biggest students' magazine, where for almost two years I was the head of the film column. I was chosen as a Polish representative in the Venice Days jury at the 2017 Venice Film Festival. I'm also the LUX prize ambassador and a proud member of the Scope100 project. I had a chance to write for Cineuropa, naEkranie and regularly for my blog. I'm studying both e-business and film studies, also having some time to work at a Polish start-up. 

Mikhail Morkin, Russia
Moscow-based film journalist. He is a chief editor and critic for His work has appeared in The Hollywood Reporter Russia, RussoRosso and Film Sense. He also worked as programmer assistant at 2morrow Film Festival. Born in Moscow in 1991, he holds a specialist’s degree in Linguistics from MSPU and is currently studying for master’s degree in Transmedia Production from HSE.

Mina Stanikic, Serbia
24 year old film and theatre critic based in Novi Sad, Serbia. Although finishing medicine studies, she took up career as a cultural journalist, starting in Kultur!Kokoška, a culture-dedicated web magazine, slowly becoming focused on film and theatre criticism. Her articles have been published in various cultural magazines, mostly in Serbian language. Mina is alumna of 11th Talents Sarajevo, where she took part in Talent Press program, writing and publishing in English. In film criticism, she has particular interest in debut films, and the following transition from short to feature filmmaking.  Mina works as a PR for the Film Front, International short film festival in Novi Sad, Serbia. 

Romanita Alexeev, Moldova
Romanița’s relationship with the film world isn’t limited to her fascination for it. It also extends to her fascination with other people’s fascination for it. She has started her journey in this industry by studying film production and acting at the University of Salford, United Kingdom. Later on, she returned to her home-country, Moldova, where, at the present moment, is directing and an online/tv series about Moldovan film industry.