A Hungarian expression is mentioned in Arrival, the sci-fi movie of the year
“Hungarians even named it” says the CIA officer to Amy Adams and her colleagues in one of the scenes of Arrival, but he doesn’t say which word he was referring to. Origo.hu traced the solution.
The Arrival sci-fi is screened in Hungarian cinemas since last Thursday and it seems like it is one of the unmissable movie experiences of the year: aliens land on our planet and an intelligent, sentimental and exciting drama evolves instead of the usual demolition.
What’s most surprising for the Hungarian audience is that the CIA officer played by Michael Stuhlbarg refers to a Hungarian word, when he’s talking about how the aliens’ intentions might be hostile and that it is not expellable that they are planning to play countries off against each other.
“It might be that the visitors want to stir up a war between us so that only one side would remain” says the distrustful Agent Halpern. Then a military officer played by Forest Whitaker interposes a remark that there’s no evidence to this, but the CIA officer goes on by saying: “There is. Our history. The British in India, the German in Ruanda. Hungarians even named it. Indeed, we live in a world without a supreme commander.”
Which Hungarian word was Halpern referring to? It’s actually not obvious and you can’t turn to the Story of Your Life and Others novel, which is the base of the movie, because this dialogue is the creation of screenwriter Eric Heisserer. So Origo called up the Hungarian marketer and a colleague of InterCom told them the solution: salami tactics (salami-slice strategy).
This expression was first used by Mátyás Rákosi and it was the colloquial naming of the behaviour, political methods of the Hungarian Communist Party in order of their quick rise to power. In a wider sense, this tactic was used by other communist parties as well in the Soviet occupation zone to develop monarchism. In this fashion, the opposition is eliminated “slice by slice” until one realizes that it is gone in its entirety.
After WWII communists weren’t picky with methods to eliminate their political opponents, a lot of times they even treated their fellow party members with hell-bent methods. For the sake of the quick development of dictatorship they brought show trials, arrested, blackmailed, forced to retirement or kidnapped people who they found dangerous.
Director Denis Villeneuve has been shooting Blade Runner 2049 in Hungary since summer, but it is sure that the expression is not part of Arrival due to this, because it has been shot way earlier.
Copy editor: bm