90 Movies in 90 Days: Adoption (1975)

I’m kicking off 2023 by trying to watch and review one movie every day for the first 90 days, all of which will be 90 minutes or less.

Title: Adoption
Release Date: 25 September 1975
Director: Márta Mészáros
Production Company:  Hungarofilm | Hunnia Filmstúdió

My only prior experience with Hungarian cinema was Sátántangó, so I entered into watching this movie with some trepidation. Fortunately, Adoption is not such a chore to watch. It’s a simple story really.  Kata (Katalin Berek) is a 43-year-old widowed factory worker.  She wants to have a baby and proposes the idea to her lover, a married man, who immediately shoots her down.  Concurrently, Kata forms an acquaintance with Anna (Gyöngyvér Vigh), a troubled teen who lives in a nearby children’s home.

Kata and Anna bond with Kata helping Anna become emancipated from her parents so she can marry her boyfriend.  Meanwhile, Kata is inspired to adopt a baby from the same children’s home.  The film is meditative in style, focusing on details and the sense of found family.  But it also features an ominous ending that suggests that neither of these women are going to get the future they hoped for.

Rating: ***

50 Years, 50 Movies (1987): Where Is the Friend’s House?

I will turn 50 in November of this year, so my project for 2023 will be to watch and review one movie from each year of my life.  The only qualification is that it has to be a movie I’ve not reviewed previously.  If you have any suggestions for movies from the past 50 years, please drop them in the comments!


Top Grossing Movies:

  1. Beverly Hills Cop II
  2. Platoon
  3. Fatal Attraction
  4. The Untouchables
  5. Three Men and a Baby

Best Picture Oscar Nominees and Winner:

Other Movies I’ve Reviewed:

Title: Where Is the Friend’s House?
Release Date: February 1, 1987
Director: Abbas Kiarostami
Production Company: Kanun parvaresh fekri | Farabi Cinema Foundation

In first grade, I was goofing around with a friend, taking turns rolling out our bottom lips and laughing at it.  We got caught by our teacher who said we were sticking out our tongues.  Our class had a rule against sticking out tongues, and I denied it since I had in fact been rolling out my bottom lip.  Then my teacher got really angry for lying.  Now in the teacher’s eyes, a bottom lip could be easily mistaken for a tongue and she probably felt that any gestures with the mouth were disruptive to the class. But I was hurt that she insisted that I did something I would not do.  The spirit of the law against sticking out tongues is that it was mean.  And I was not being mean.  My friend and I were having fun.

I bring this up, because in the first five minutes of Where Is the Friend’s House? we see a teacher bring a 8-year-old child to tears.  This sets the theme of the movie in which adults exercise the arbitrary authority of children, refuse to listen to children, and threaten children. It is completely infuriating!

The main plot involves Ahmad (Babak Ahmadpour), a grade school boy, who accidentally takes home his friend’s notebook.  Knowing his friend will get in trouble if he doesn’t complete his homework in the notebook.  Ahmad’s parents and grandfather are not at all sympathetic, so he takes it upon himself to run to the nearby village where his friend lives.  Of course, Ahmad does not know where his friend’s house is located and the adults of the village are absolutely no help.

The movie captures the helplessness of being a child and the way that kids are simply invisible to adults.   I suppose the movie could be seen as a metaphor for living under an authoritarian government in Iran told in a way that wouldn’t get centered.  But the mistreatment of children transcends borders, political ideologies, and religious beliefs, so the story works well on face value. It’s honestly a surprise how kind and conscientious Ahmad is when he lives among such rotten people. The ending holds out hope for him and his friend.

Rating: ****