- Rated: R
- Closed captioning available
- Run Time: 3 hours
- Video: Color
- Released: May 8, 2001
- Originally Released: 1999
- Label: Paramount
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Single Side - Dual Layer
- Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen - 1.85
- Aspect Ratio: Letterbox - 1.85
- Dolby Digital 2.0 - English
- Dolby Digital 5.1 - English
- Additional Release Material:
- Trailers: Original Theatrical Trailer
Performers, Cast and Crew:
"...[There is] care and emotion in every frame of SUNSHINE..."
USA Today - 06/09/2000
"...SUNSHINE opens with thunder: an impressively staged explosion that says we just dare you to snooze through this three-hour story..."
New York Times - 06/12/2000
"...[The film] follows in the footsteps of movies like Visconti's LEOPARD and Bertolucci's 1900, epics that aspired to match the sprawl and capaciousness of classic novels..."
Entertainment Weekly - 06/30/2000
"...Never less than engrossing....Ehle glows..." -- Rating: B+
Box Office - 11/01/1999
"...[SUNSHINE has] substance and intelligence..."
Los Angeles Times - 06/09/2000
"...It is a superb period re-creation and boasts a formidable international cast....Absorbing and illuminating in regard to the eras it spans..."
Director István Szabó's SUNSHINE is an epic tale that follows the Polish family the Sonnenscheins through five generations spanning more than 100 years, from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s, exploring the history, politics, world wars, social diaspora, and economic shifts that influence and change them during that period.
Beginning with Emmanuel Sonnenschein, who builds a business around the family product (a Taste of Sunshine tonic), the film follows the lineage from his son Ignaz (Ralph Fiennes), a political conservative loyal to the Hungarian Republic, to Ignaz's son Adam (also played by Fiennes), an olympic fencer who is victimized by the Nazi genocide, to Adam's son Ivan (Fiennes again), a member of the Hungarian communist regime who manages to divorce himself from it and be free. Through these transitions, it is Valerie (played by both Jennifer Ehle and her real-life mother, Rosemary Harris), the cousin and wife of Ignaz, who becomes mother to Adam and grandmother to Ivan, supplying moral support, a family backbone, and photographs: a signature snapshot technique is used in the film to round out each major chapter or event. A beautiful film with easy transitions, dramatic scenery and costumes, and admirable performances, SUNSHINE's themes of family, history, and Hungarian pride resonate far beyond the big screen.
SUNSHINE tells the epic story of one Hungarian Jewish family over the course of generations. In exposing the betrayals, passions, and romances of the Sonnenscheins, István Szabó and Israel Horovitz have crafted a daring, powerful motion picture. Ralph Fiennes portrays three family members at different times in the 20th century, and it is this stunning performance that makes SUNSHINE such an impressive feat. The film also features solid supporting turns by Rosemary Harris and Rachel Weisz.
- Theatrical release June 9, 2000.
- Filmed in Budapest, Hungary.
- Says director István Szabó, "Over the last hundred years human being have faced enormous challenges and threats to their safety, an extraordinary situation in which to try to love and work and be happy. I wanted to capture this chaos and struggle."
- Both of the producers, Robert Lantos and Andras Hamori are Hungarian and found the script to be deeply moving.
- Ralph Fiennes spent time in Hungary studying the country's history and culture, and "discovering the joys of goose-liver pate and the pleasures of Tokai wine," to prepare himself for the role.
- The cast included over 150 actors from England, Germany, Canada, America, and Hungary. Of these, many parts were assigned to two actors: one who would play the role of the younger character, and the other who would play the role after 30 years had passed. For instance, two different actors play Ignatz's brother Gustave, and two different actors play the family maid, Kato.
- Clearly the strongest character in the movie-second only to Fienne's roles-Valerie, who plays Ignatz's cousin/lover/wife, was played by a mother-daugher pair of actresses: Rosemary Harris and Jennifer Ehle.
- The film was shot on location in Budapest, with dramatic scenes in the Budapest Opera House, the National Sports Hall, the Synagogue, and the Western Railway Station, shot in the actual locations.
- Each generation explored in the movie--from the grandfather, Ignatz, to the father, Adam, to the son/narrator, Ivan--unfolds in precisely one hour of movie time.
- SUNSHINE was named one of the 10 best films of 2000 by Time, Richard Roeper (EBERT AND ROEPER AT THE MOVIES), Peter Clinton of cnn.com, and the National Board of Review.
- The film received Golden Globe nominations for Best Motion Picture--Drama; Best Director--Motion Picture, Istvan Szabo; and Best Original Score--Motion Picture, composer Maurice Jarre.