The Restless Hungarian

War. Displacement. Immigration. The Atomic Age.

With Oppenheimer blowing up cinemas this summer, the timing of the release of The Restless Hungarian is spot-on as one grown son, curious about his famous father, tries to untangle fact from fiction from more than just the fog of war.  The stories range from teaching himself to read at the age of four, being a communist at 14, arrested at 18, friends with Herman Kahn who inspired the character of Dr. Strangelove, and helped protect the world from nuclear armageddon.

"deeply personal, but connects with its audience"

But who was Paul Weidlinger really?  It turns out that the incredible stories this father told his son are, in fact, true.  The one thing, though, that Weidlinger never tells his son, filmmaker Tom Weidlinger, is the fact that they are Jews.  This is found out after he dies and becomes the exegesis for the book and the film.  That’s how far the anti-semitism of the era he was raised in went.  It hung in the air wherever the elder Weidlinger went, haunting his own shadow as he moved through history.

The Restless Hungarian, a journey across three continents and four generations, is a deeply moving and beautiful experience as Tom Weidlinger tries to make sense of a life which stretches from Kristallnacht to the Atomic Age,

From beginning to end, the photography melds with filmmaker Tom Weidlinger’s words and narration to create a stunning masterpiece which stretches over five decades and countless continents as he recalls life with his father: Paul Weidlinger, a brilliant structural engineer who fled Europe just ahead of the Holocaust and withheld a deep and dark secret from his family. The Restless Hungarian

Combining documentary material with recreated scenes from his own childhood, the filmmaker discovers how family tragedies, psychosis, and suicide are manifestations of historical trauma passed on from one generation to the next. Tom Weidlinger’s profoundly thoughtful quest makes meaning from his family’s suffering, resulting in a healing work that breaks the cycle of intergenerational trauma.  It is deeply personal, but connects with its audience in more than just a historical way; it’s searing honesty is, at once, a teachable moment as four generations of one family wrestle with depression and suicidal thoughts.

From Modernism to madness… and redemption, The Restless Hungarian is out now on digital platforms from October Coast.

5/5 stars

Film Details

The Restless Hungarian

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
106 mins
: Tom Weidlinger

Samu Bagi; Tibor Legát; Virág Marjai
: Documentary

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Synopsis: The filmmaker's famous father kept a secret that almost destroyed him. In this searingly honest meld of personal and historical, Weidlinger tells the epic story of his family across three continents, from Kristallnacht to the Atomic Age.


The Restless Hungarian