Hungarian film Overnight screened in Ottawa

2009 december 1 10:04 du. Hungarian film Overnight screened in Ottawa bejegyzéshez a hozzászólások lehetősége kikapcsolva

Hungarian director Ferenc Török’s most recent film, entitled Overnight, was screened in Ottawa this evening, as part of the European Film Festival. The Library and Archive Canada’s auditorium was packed for the screening–organized in partnership with the Embassy of the Republic of Hungary in Ottawa–with a mix of Hungarians, English-speaking Canadians with a keen interest in foreign films and other Eastern Europeans, who will see films in their own languages shown on upcoming nights. (A Polish film entitled Little Moscow and directed by Waldemar Krzystek will be screened on 3 December 2009 at 9:00pm.)  Overnight portrays 21st century contemporary, urban and multicultural Hungary.

The film’s characters are nearly all stereotypical ‘yuppies’ who come of age following the transition to democracy and capitalism in 1989/90, speak multiple foreign languages, dine at trendy restaurants, rely heavily on the newest forms of technology and are well-travelled.
But the world of brokers and bankers as portrayed in this film is ultimately drab, unnerving and unsatisfying all at the same time.

Török’s use of washed-out colours throughout the film makes this especially apparent. Budapest is portrayed as a cool, sterile and corporate city of glass office towers, commercial garages, ultramodern flats and–rather fittingly–of traffic gridlock. The main characters comfortably switch between Hungarian and German dialogue, read the Financial Times with their morning cereal, mix English words in nearly all of their sentences when speaking Hungarian, casually call their corporate friends based in India and enjoy casual sex with multiple partners–including their co-workers–during their free time. Their world is ultimately an artificial one and it is difficult to empathize with any of these characters. Perhaps the most down-to-earth, sympathetic young man in the film is the one who gets absolutely no lines. He is the grungy anti-globalization activist who straps himself to an antenna outside the town of Veszprém, threatening to bring down Hungary’s mobile communications network and hence shutting down Budapest’s yuppies for the day. Sadly, he is arrested and we see nothing more of the film’s only loveable character.

Overnight aims to portray contemporary Hungary and unlike most movies, makes no reference to the country’s past. But with scenes switching between the gritty streets of Bombay and corporate Budapest, the film is less about Hungary and much more about a world and social class where precious little is of any value, if it’s not listed on the stock exchange.


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