R. Barton Palmer
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Music Box (1989)
Melodramatizing the Hungarian Holocaust
in The films of Costa-Gavras
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Music Box not only points to the regrettable fact that some of the European refugees admitted after the Second World War were among the ‘willing executioners’ of national socialism’s plan to remake the culture of the continent. It also provides the only cinematic treatment of the murder by Hungarian fascists who belong to the notorious Arrow Cross movement, of Budapest’s Jews – an episode of the Holocaust that had, before the release of this film, largely slipped from view. This chapter offers an in-depth discussion of the various historical events that are treated in the film and also formed the context of its reception. This is the ‘work’ of memorialization and illumination that Costa-Gavras intended his films to inspire.

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