There are conventional black and white films and then there is the odd sepia-toned effort, like Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man (shot by the great Robby Müller) and Ferenc Török's 1945, a masterful adaptation of co-writer Gábor T. Szántó's considerably more streamlined 2017 short story, "Homecoming.”
Just as Jarmusch's mystical western takes place in a 19th-century America connected by trains, a train station in Hungary sets 1945's plot in motion when it dislodges two mysterious passengers dressed in black, Orthodox Jews (played with minimalist rigor by Iván Angelusz and Marcell Nagy) toting nailed wooden crates, who turn this provincial post-war village upside down simply by walking from one end of it to the other.
While a wedding takes place in the foreground, the mob boss-like town clerk (a magnificently mustachioed Péter Rudolf) encourages his fellow citizens, a motley collection of troubled souls, to close ranks against the strangers who appear intent on reclaiming stolen property. As they walk, revelations of anti-semitism seep out along the margins before engulfing the entire town.
If Török takes his time identifying the characters and their relationships to each other, his seventh feature offers a particularly rewarding payoff, and Elemér Ragályi's daguerreotype-like cinematography stuns at every turn.