It’s all About Taking the Next Step

2014 was a year of full of surprises in the Hungarian film industry, and one of the biggest of those surprises was Gábor Reisz’s first feature film, For Some Inexplicable Reason. The film attracted Hungarian viewers and quickly became one of the most-watched Hungarian pictures in the last few years. it premiered in Karlovy Vary Film Festival last year.

From the halls of the University of Theatre and Film Arts, Budapest (SZFE), gábor landed at this year’s acclaimed Résidence program at Cannes Film Festival.

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Photo by Gábor Valuska (magyar.film.hu)

Gábor, a student of SZFE, started his filmmaking career with the help of the greatest minds in Hungarian film. He started making short films about young people who cope with growing up, search for love, and simply trying to find themselves. In The Reason of Denial, Honestly,Somebody’s Something, On a Lower Level, and Péter, Gábor regularly brought back interesting and familiar characters, many of which are typical characters of contemporary Budapest. Budapest itself plays a main role in his films.

For Some Inexplicable Reason tells the story of a young man who is heartbroken, searching for a job, and dreading his 30th birthday. He talks too much, often speaks nonsense, and comes face to face with the tribulations of a hard knock life. Gábor made the film with the help of his friends, and together they created something genuinely familiar.

Because of the success of VAN (a short “nickname” of the film in Hungarian), Gábor can now enjoy the hospitality of the Cannes Résidence program in the heart of Paris while working on his second feature film. On getting accepted to Résidence: “I found out about it when I was still overwhelmed about the unexpected success of VAN. In the beginning, I couldn’t believe that it was really happening. When we were waiting for feedback on Résidence, I remember that I went to the kitchen, had a glass of water and said to myself: even if it doesn’t happen, I’m still the happiest man on earth. But I began defending a potential rejection by saying that the French don’t have a taste for anything anyway… One minute later, they called me to say congratulations. We were all crying, including me.”

But the 5 months of intensive script development and his search for inspiration weren’t so easy in the beginning. “I had a hard time with the English language, and it was strange to be away from Budapest for such a long time. I had to find my rhythm and learn to manage my time, while having to travel to many festivals with VAN. But I got used to my life here, and now I truly enjoy it. The other participants in the Résidence are really cool, so the community played a big role in my adjustment. Although, my writing method is quite different from the others’ because I technically started the script from scratch.”

Living the life of a part-time Parisian is incredible, but in general Gábor is living a completely normal life there. “I wake up early in the morning and start writing with the help of 3 coffees. In the afternoon I do my shopping, cook, eat, sleep, or watch a film. Then I go out for a run. My evening plans vary because they depend on the others. We often go to the cinema, since most of the theaters are free for us to visit. But Paris is incredible. A few days ago I saw a Buster Keaton film in a full 450-seat screening room!”

He’s still reluctant to go into details about his next film, but he shared parts of the story on the official website of the Résidence program. “I only just started to get an idea of what I want to get out of this film, but it’s still too fresh to talk about it in detail. All I can say is that the title is going to be Bad Poems (Rossz versek).”

Gábor is honored that he can spend so much quality time in Paris. But he dedicates all of this success to his former “lovechild”. VAN completely made it possible for me to be here in the program, and it really helped me grow as a filmmaker. Every film is an individual step, or at least this is how I think of them. Even if, at first, these steps don’t seem to be greater than the previous one.”

by Janka Pozsonyi

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