2018 was a banner year for film production in Hungary, with turizmusonline.com reporting a record 333 films registered in Hungary. Of this number, 245 were Hungarian, the rest foreign. That's thirty more Hungarian films than in 2017. This represents a boon for local film-making.
One of those films, Bad Poems, which was released earlier this year in Hungary, is beginning to make waves abroad. The feature by writer/director Gábor Reisz just won the Best Film Award at the 16th Monte-Carlo Comedy Film Festival. According to the Hungarian National Film Fund, who had a hand in providing incentives for the film, it was the first time that Hungarian movie got the top honor in Monte-Carlo. This year’s international jury was presided by the world famous director of Underground, Emir Kusturica.
The Film Fund describes the plot to Bad Poems as such: "33-years old Tamás Merthner is heartbroken, after his girlfriend Anna, who is on a scholarship in Paris, breaks up with him. While wallowing in self-pity, Tamás takes a trip down memory lane to figure out if love only exists when it's practically gone. As he's trying to pick up the pieces, he begins to realize what makes this current society so confused, which gives us a highly subjective view of Hungary's present." We have also learned that the story was developed at the Cannes Film Festival’s Cinéfondation residency.
Cineuropa, in its largely ludatory review, described its action as "highly comical adventures filled with touching sensitivity." Dirty Movies (dmovies.org) which covered the film in its Tallin Black Nights Film Festival screening, rhapsodized, "Bad Poems is one of these magical films with the power to transform the ordinary into extraordinary, the very personal into something universal." It goes on to praise the director, who it is worth pointing out, also plays the 33-year-old protagonist, "The director has a fabulous sense of humour, with plenty of self-deprecating jokes throughout the film. And despite the protagonist’s broken heart, Bad Poems has a unapologetic joie-de-vivre."
This is the second feature for Reisz, whose previous film was the well received For Some Inexplicable Reason. Produced by Julia Berkes for Proton Cinema, Bad Poems is co-produced by Estelle Robin-You for French outfit Les Films du Balibari.
It turns out the Bad Poems makes for good film-making. May this deeply felt, imaginative film find continued success abroad. Below you can find the trailer for Bad Poems. It is in Hungarian with English subtitles.
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