Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Just the Wind (2012)

Just the Wind • Csak a szél (2012)
Just the Wind • Csak a szél (2012)
Genre: Drama
Director: Benedek Fliegauf
Starring: Katalin Toldi, Gyöngyi Lendvai, Lajos Sárkány, György Toldi, Gyula Hováth
Language: Hungarian
Duration: 86 min.
Rating: 7.7
A chilling day in the life of a Romani family who live on an isolated farm in Hungary.
Just the Wind is a film written and directed by Benedek (Bence) Fliegauf, inspired by a series of brutal murders of Romani families in Hungary between 2008 and 2009. It premiered at the 2012 Berlin International Film Festival, where it was awarded the Jury Grand Prix Silver Bear. It was Hungary's official submission to the 2013 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film.

With his fifth feature film, Fliegauf, trades the sublime minimal beauty of his recent work: the experimental Milky Way (2007) and the sci-fi English language effort Womb (2010), to return to the more gritty and realistic settings of his first two films: Forest (2003) and Dealer (2004).

Just as in Dealer, the story takes place over a 24 hour period, and closely follows the lives of the members of a Romani family (played ever so convincingly by a cast of non-professionals) as they go about their day. There's the mother Mari (Katalin Toldi), a cleaning lady who works two jobs in an effort to save enough so that the family can move to Canada, where her husband is waiting for them; and their two children: teenaged Anna (Gyöngyi Landvai), a conscientious student, and Rio (Lajos Sarkany), the younger rebellious brother.

The film begins in the darkness of daybreak, and constantly switches amongst the points of view of these three characters throughout the day, giving us a detailed glimpse into their lives and the harsh world they live in. Mari going about her work and Anna attending her classes surrounded by blatant prejudice, racism, and oppressive disdain from all around. Even Rio, who skips school to roam about his squalid rural neighborhood, has a couple of random unsavory encounters. All the while, news and fear of the recent nearby killings is on everyone's minds.

Fliegauf is reunited with cinematographer Zoltan Lovasi (the DP of his debut feature, Forest), and his naturally lit, erratic, and tightly cropped style isn't exactly an eye pleasing one, but it fits the tone and subject matter of the story perfectly. The raw look gives it a documentary feel, and helps to build a tremendously chilling and distressing mood.

A mood aided once again by Fliegauf's always impressive use of sound. From the unsettling droning sounds in the film's score, to the random environmental noises heard throughout. What we hear is just as important as what we see.

With the recent retirement of Béla Tarr, Benedek Fliegauf now inherits the title of Hungary's best working director. This latest effort isn't quite earth shattering, but its a further refinement on his always intriguing style. One that draws important attention to an ongoing social problem that doesn't seem to have any answers.
Bonjour Tristesse
Just the Wind • Csak a szél (2012)

Just the Wind • Csak a szél (2012)

Just the Wind • Csak a szél (2012)

Just the Wind • Csak a szél (2012)

Just the Wind • Csak a szél (2012)

Just the Wind • Csak a szél (2012)


d_4 said...

Of all these I've only seen Womb, but I've wanted to see some of the others and that's why this one goes on the list too. I don't know what to expect exactly, but I know I'll enjoy it.

FrontRoomCinema said...

Big shoes to fill... I mean Tarr's, looks good though

Post a Comment