Last year’s Berlin Film Festival (Berlinale) brought wild success to the Golden Bear winner On Body and Soul, which now stands a chance to be Hungary’s second Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film in three years. This year Hungary has another strong showing with the home-grown film Genesis (Genezis), director Árpád Bogdán’s follow up to his acclaimed debut Happy New Life, which also got a nod at Berlinale, winning a Special Mention for the Manfred Salzgeber Award, and going on to have an active life on the festival circuit.
Funded by the Hungarian National Film Fund, Genesis tells the tale of “a young Roma boy, whose childhood reaches a sudden and drastic end when he loses his family in a tragic and brutal attack,” as the film’s press material tells it. It is a perennially relevant topic, recalling fellow Hungarian Bence Fliegauf’s Berlinale competition prizewinner Just the Wind, from 2012.
The theme is, as advance reviews indicate, capably handled by the Hungarian/Roma director Bogdán. Screen Daily, for instance, had this to say: “Though often favouring a hand-held camera, Genesis is nevertheless fastidiously assembled. As the titular allusion makes clear, what the film forgoes in subtlety it makes up for in biblical heft, benefiting from D.P. Tamás Dobos’ reverential invocations of fire, blood and water. As already noted, Gábor Császár’s soundscapes are often characters onto themselves.” Daily Variety returned a review that lavished praise on the Hungarian crew: “the film’s technical aspects benefit from Tamás Dobos’s elemental, widescreen lensing, composer Mihály Víg’s mournful score, and the masterful sound design by Gábor Császár.”
But Genesis wasn’t the only Hungarian film at the festival. There were also two honorary screenings of Eniko Enyedi’s 1989 film My Twentieth Century in the Berlinale Classics section.
Genesis had its premiere at the Panorama Special section of this year’s Berlinale festival, where it was well received. We wish it all the luck in continuing Hungary’s phenomenal recent triumphs. You can view the trailer for Genesis with English subtitles below:
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