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Fullback to the Future (or, The greatest Hungarian science-fiction sports movie you’ll probably never see)

A football ascending to the heavens kicks off (snigger) 6:3; a truly appropriate image this is, for 1990s garbageman Tutti (Károly Eperjes) is about to enter a Hungarian sports fan’s heaven. Said Valhalla is actually of no great distance in space, but requires a time-travel voyage some 45 years back to the “Match of the Century” bringing victory Hungary over Team England at Wembley Stadium to snap a 30-year undefeated run. Against the early 1950s’ antediluvian and repressive system, Puskas and his teammates were nothing sort of angels for Tutti.

November 25, 1953 holds extra significance for our hero, doubling as the day of his birth. When he suddenly awakens to find himself miraculously transported to that age of 3-forint beers and communist propaganda, he finds himself torn in priority between meeting the mother he never knew and listening to the game on radio.

Right. So … where’s the damn radio, already?

Street-cleaner Helén (Kriszta Szalay) befriends Tutti without ever truly comprehending just how he knows the game’s sequence of events or what his strange urge to visit the hospital is all about. To most, his unfortunate tendency to babble his always dead correct prognostications together with confusing anachronisms (In one of the film’s best bits, Tutting tries to pay for an 8½-forint tab with a 5,000-forint note) are pesky annoyances.

This makeshift couple is subsequently ejected from everywhere from bars to bathhouses as the game plays on in parallel with Tutti’s quest – because a hero must always be on a quest, simply being alive during the Match of the Century isn’t enough…

All the 1950s archetypes are here: the enthusiastic socialists begging for a few words of the glorious Marx-managed future; the always handy Greek chorus-like barbershop bunch; and a gaggle of writers particularly intrigued by Tutti’s talk of revolution scheduled three years in their future…

It is in these last seemingly minor characters that 6:3’s real strengths exist. Lifting the material above the standard fish-out-of-time machinations and some very funny farce, brief scenes with these scribes are poignant and heavy. The poets darkly ponder killing Tutti – after all, if the secret police find out about this “revolution,” surely they will quench the glorious uprising below it happens, changing history, science-fiction tropes, etc. Tutti in return chastises them for their ineffectuality in Hungary’s time of crisis.

In the below clip, Tutti decides to cause a little havoc and help a gambler fill out his match form for that day’s results. Much consternation (and wanting in on more “Tuti tipp”) ensues.

6:3 director Péter Timár’s last release, a sequel/reboot/21st capitalization/whatever on his mildly successful 1998 effort Zimmer Feri was in 2010. But he’s much more well known for his dark and/or satirical efforts Egészséges erotika and Csapd le csacsi and above all the 1960s musical homage Csinibaba (the highest-grossing film in Hungary of all-time until Titanic cruised into town in ‘.

Unfortunately, 6:3 has been mostly forgotten by the collective consciousness in the home country and English-subtitled versions are basically non-existent. A full version is available on YouTube, but, again, no subtitles.

As BuckBokai has always said, though: It’s a shame this film isn’t known outside the national borders (and to anyone not alive in the 90s, come to think of it) for surely the angst of the football fan is universal.

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