In the smelly, ratty, upside-down Budapest apartment of Erno and Atuska Locsei, a man helping the stunted sibling occupants to relocate came upon a box of home movies that showed the post-war childhood of the now-middle-aged brother and sister. He sold the reels to a visiting American, Benjamin Meade, who was so awed by what appeared on celluloid that he made this footage the centerpiece of Vakvagany ("Dead End"), a feature-length independent film.
There are indeed several odd shots here — Erno’s mother holding his penis as he relieves himself; this same woman munching erotically on a bunch of grapes — but they’re not so unusual or so numerous as to warrant a movie, much less the rich expressionist soundtrack that’s provided by Boston’s Alloy Orchestra. Meade tries to jack up his film by having filmmaker guru Stan Brakhage, therapist Dr. Roy Menninger, and novelist James Ellroy comment on the footage. The first two read far too much into what they watch; only Ellroy shows any common sense. Whereas Menninger interprets a photo of naked baby Erno with mom and dad as evidence of exhibitionism, Ellroy sees only proud, doting parents. In English and Hungarian with English subtitles. (86 minutes)