A love story between a young athlete and a student set during the Hungarian Uprising of 1956. Karcsi Szabó is a member of the Hungarian national water polo team, one of Europe’s leading teams. Last year, the team’s only defeat was in Moscow, where they only lost because the referee refused to let them win. Now Karcsi and his fellow team-members are training intensively for the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, which could provide the Hungarian team with the opportunity to take its revenge on their ostensible superiors.
But when the students of the Technical University take to the streets of Budapest in October in order to demonstrate their solidarity with the workers’ uprising in Poland, Karcsi and his friend Tibi find themselves caught up in the tide of political unrest. At first the pair sees it all as something of an adventure but then, when Karcsi meets a temperamental student named Viki, he finds himself drawn increasingly into her political activities. Among other things, he takes part in the armed struggle to take and subsequently occupy Budapest’s broadcasting building.
When the Uprising is crushed by Soviet troops, Karcsi falls into a depression. But Viki gives him new hope. Now, more than, ever, he needs to serve the national team. And, sure enough, on 6 December 1956, the Hungarians find themselves up against the Soviet Union’s team once again – this time at the semi-final in Melbourne’s Olympic pool. –Berlinale