In The Father (Apa), Hungarian filmmaker Istvan Szabo invests a great deal of poetry and warmth in a story that, in lesser hands, might have become a wallow in bathos. After his father is killed in World War II, a young Hungarian boy named Tako concocts a fantasy image of the parent he never really knew. Convincing himself of his father’s unstinting bravery, the boy grows into a man (Andras Balint) who hopes to emulate his dad’s heroism. During the 1956 uprising, our hero falls in love with Jewish refugee Anni (Kati Solyom). Apprised of the horrors experienced by Anni’s people during the Holocaust, Tako decides to find out whether or not his father was truly the noble warrior he’s imagined him to be. It turns out that the father was neither wholly good nor wholly evil, just an average Hungarian hoping to make the best of a difficult world. At long last, Tako is able to divest himself of his father’s shadow and become a man on his own terms.