Two films at the Hungarian Film Week, currently in full swing, offered visions of a dystopian world strangely like our own.
In 1 from Pater Sparrow, a Borgesian conceit is brought to life. In a bookshop known for its rare books, the visit of a mysterious man coincides with the shop suddenly being filled exclusively with copies of a book called 1. The volume contains descriptions of what happens to the whole of humanity in one minute.
The visually sumptuous tale – the director was also production designer, as is his custom – is labelled at the start of the film an “experimental imagination,” referring to the term in psychology whereby images stored in the brain can be recalled by association with other images or can be combined to create new ones. The film’s inclusion of archive materials ranging from the early days of film up to this day is thus explained.
1 was produced by Honeymood Films in co-production with Ozumi Films, Cameofilm Laokoon Filmgroup, Moviebar Productions and Visionteam, and with backing from Magyar Televizio and Hungarian Cultural Ministry.
Roland Vranik’s Transmission is set in a seaside town (already something unusual, since Hungary is a land-locked country) and shows a world in which all screens and monitors have stopped functioning. Electricity can only be had from generators, since power plants rely on screens to function. It is a world in which people disappear, others are moved and others still remain immobile.
The film does not rely on production design and studio work as much as 1, but the visuals are equally sumptuous, though in Vranik’s case because of their simplicity. The director of the oddity Black Brush here again shows a knack for the unusual.
Transmission was produced by Filmpartners, in co-production with Laokoon Filmgroup and MTM-SBS television, with backing from the Hungarian Cultural Ministry.
Boyd van Hoeij