With the Hungarian film Johanna, cinema and opera become one. Not a single word of the film's dialogue is not sung, and yet the story is very compelling. Indeed, you can watch this film with no sound and not miss much of its meaning. It's about a woman (Orsi Toth) who arrives at a hospital after being badly injured in a bus accident. A young and handsome doctor sees her—her beautiful face, her life-threatening wounds—and carries her to an operating room. He falls in love with her instantly and, as she recovers, has her stay in the hospital. The woman, who is also a drug addict, does not just sit around waiting to get better, but instead transforms herself into the kind of nurse the reggae singer Gregory Isaacs made famous in his tune "Night Nurse" ("I don't wanna see no doc/I need attendance from my nurse around the clock"). Yes, she begins fucking the old and dying patients. The patients, of course, have no problem with this gift of gifts; the staff of the hospital, of course, does. The end of the movie tragically resolves this tension between the patients, the staff, and the darkly erotic nurse.
This is one of the strangest films I have ever seen. The mazelike hospital, the nocturnal fucking (sex as a kind of operation), the sudden singing in operatic registers—it is nothing but art-house cinema in its purest state. Grand Illusion, Fri 7, 9 pm, Sat–Sun 5, 7, 9 pm, Mon–Thurs 7, 9 pm.