By Merle Bertrand | February 13, 2001

Several generations of a tightly-knit family and their neighbors in a Brooklyn neighborhood go about their daily routines. Yet, today is Eva’s birthday and the family members pine for her to return. Beyond this obvious plotline, there wasn’t much else going on in this jumbled and confusing short from director Mimi Zora.
There are simply lots of people in “Goulash” doing lots of stuff in order to get ready for the evening feast. Zora tells part of her story through a very grainy film stock that’s been heavily tinted a deep yellow-orange color; sort of a sepia on steroids. Come to think of it, these intermittent segments were about the same color as goulash.
What’s unclear — and what added to the film’s confusion — is what this particular look is supposed to signify. At first glance, it seems as if Zora uses this look to indicate a flashback. Yet, I became less certain of this as the film wore on. Eventually, I became so distracted trying to correlate the “Goulash filter” with the narrative, that I sort of lost track of who is who and what is what.
This could also be because there are a tremendous amount of characters to identify and keep track of in a short period of time. Given the family’s constantly overlapping subtitled dialogue, this also became increasingly difficult to do.
Eventually Eva does return home and just in time for dinner. The family seems extremely happy to see her, which is nice. As for the rest of us, outside of sharing a universal identification with familial ties, her return just doesn’t mean all that much.

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