Director: Istvan Szabo
Music: Zdenko Tamassy
During the immediate post-war period, a handful of homeless persons stumble
upon a tramcar that has been washed up on a sandy river bank. The refugees,
who are heading towards Budapest, decide to put the car on its wheels, set it
on the rails, and continue their journey in it. After much painstaking effort,
they get the car on to the track, and loading their belongings and themselves
onto it, they continue their journey in it.
On the way, they come across an abandoned warehouse where they find sacks of
foodstuffs - a real windfall. They load the lot into the car and on they move.
The car now represents real value, something they will want to cling to, fight
for a defend. Other hordes of refugees trudging their way through the woods,
the rigors of weather and the lack of comforts and conveniences, with differences
and quarrels amongst themselves, add to the difficulties of the trek, which
is becoming an increasingly arduous and formidable undertaking.
The group's progress is marked by countless quarrels and clashes. They bury
their dead, new loves and friendships spring up, and some give up not able to
withstand the countless hardships. A few die of the formidable effort and there
are some who lay down their lives for the community.
But the group never gives up. Newer ideas and renewed effort coupled with great
courage keep their hopes and strength alive, dispel doubts, and win over the
onlookers by the roadside so that the tramcar may keep moving along towards
its destination, so that they can negotiate each new crossing and each new obstacle.
One misty morning they are joined by dozens of other tramcars, with people like
themselves, all of them heading towards the same destination.
The film is an allegory of Hungarian history since the war, with its brave
ideals, its setbacks and frustrations, and its need for solidarity and cohesion
if the goal is to be attained.