Since its inception in 1948, The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic has been seen as a testing ground for marketable art-house films which will have pan-European and North American appeal. It has long been among the most prestigious festivals in Eastern/Central Europe, though its credibility lagged under state control during the Socialist era, when they had to take direction from Moscow. But since the Velvet Revolution, Karlovy Vary has made a strong comeback, and is now a showcase for the world's top established and emerging film-makers.
With that in mind, it is gratifying to see a new voice in Hungarian cinema take home a prize from this year's festival. Young Budapest-based director László Csuja was awarded the East of the West Special Jury Prize last Saturday for his debut feature film, Blossom Valley. The award, which is given to a film from the former Soviet bloc, comes with a 10,000 dollar prize, along with a lot of acclaim and publicity. The film is just one more success to come out of the Hungarian Film Fund, which also helped with Ildikó Enyedi's Oscar nominated On Body and Soul, and the recent Cannes International Critics' Prize winner One Day.
Blossom Valley is being considered a more youth friendly film than previous international film festival Hungarian winners, revolving around the relationship between two damaged young people and a kidnapped baby. Daily Variety was quite taken with the film, saying in its review: "Thrumming with the woozy, hangover energy of a strung-out, sleepless night, 'Blossom Valley' may sound like a brand of supermarket rosé, but its spirit, as embodied in its female lead, is a lot more punk than that. Hungarian debut director László Csuja finds beauty in his bruised, beer-can aesthetic and gives this small-scale, ostensible social-realist story of restlessness and rootlessness a slightly haunted, fairy-tale edge. It may riff on well-known archetypes — the lovers-on-the-run narrative, the makeshift-family-unit drama, a plotline that is essentially 'Raising Arizona' played without the laughs — but this exceptionally well-performed debut is so bravely loyal to its idiosyncratic, misguided characters that it never feels less than fresh."
Screen Daily says: "Blossom Valley has the verve and passion that comes with a young and enthusiastic crew behind the scenes and a cast or mostly non-professional actors. Csuja especially is a director who should be watched closely over the coming years."
It is an auspicious debut, though general audiences have yet to get a chance to see and react to the film, which only appears in theaters in Hungary later in the summer. Below you can find the trailer to Blossom Valley (in Hungarian with English subtitles) which deserves a look.
Flatpack Films is based in Budapest, Hungary. We are a film company that offers an inspiring and professional work atmosphere for our local and international clients. Since our inception, our focus has been providing the best of the best in terms of local production resources, locations, cast, and technical teams to ensure that whatever the production we facilitate, we do to highest standard possible.