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MY TWENTIETH CENTURY (1989, HUN) Movie review, plot, trailer

Hungarian Ildiko Enyedi experienced the biggest moment in her career a few years ago when her drama “On Body and Soul” won the Golden Bear in Berlin, and was nominated for both an Oscar and a European Film of the Year. But thirty years earlier, Enyedi had made another extremely unusual and equally notable film, with which she made her debut as a young author in Cannes, where she won the award for best debutante. But unlike “On Body and Soul” which was a rather difficult story about the romance of two people with disabilities, “My Twentieth Century” is a fluttering humor drama with the spirit of early film, even a slightly erotic fantasy set in Central Europe in the early 20s. century. Polish actress Dorota Segda embodied Dora and Lili, twin sisters born in poverty in Budapest in 1880, who were stolen and separated while selling matches on the street as girls.

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They grew up separately and grew into physically identical, but completely different characters, and at the beginning of the 20th century we met them as two beautiful girls whose destinies will be connected by chance. Dora is thus a hedonist and courtesan who pretends to be a lady from high society and betroths rich aristocrats, while Lili is a feminist and anarchist who is preparing for a terrorist attack on an Austrian politician in Budapest. The sisters will reconnect through a mysterious wanderer whom we meet only as Z (Oleg Jankovski), who will first fall fatally in love with Lila. But after she rejects him, he happens to meet Dora thinking it’s the same girl. After a pleasant night with Dora, Z will realize that his wallet has been stolen and gone, and soon after, he will be reunited with Lili, who will regret it not because she stole his wallet, as Z assumes, but because which she had previously rejected.


It was “My Twentieth Century” a somewhat farcical old-fashioned story filmed with a black-and-white camera that really does look like it was filmed somewhere in the early 1930s soundtrack. It was one of those even surreal, symbolic stories in which the main plot occasionally intersects with excerpts about Edison and his inventions and all the innovations that emerged one after the other at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. With the beginnings of mass use of electricity, telephones and all the other innovations that emerged then, the world has practically in just a few years become more connected and closer than ever before. But at the same time the world seems to have never been more distant and separated ideologically and ideologically, so one camp or the then popular capitalist theory of social Darwinism seems to symbolize Dora, while Lily, who will one day lose the booklet of the famous anarchist theorist Peter Kropotkin as symbolizing socialism and Communism.

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