photo: Gábor Valuska

Tamara Kolaric is a Croatian film critic and the co-editor of Filmonaut magazine. Her words offer a glimpse into the freshest short film festival in Budapest. Did you miss the festival’s line-up? Have a look on the Facebook page and follow the Friss hús community:

When I think of Hungarian cinema, I think of the artistry of Béla Tarr, the grotesque world of György Pálfi, or the found footage mastery of Péter Forgács. Yet beyond the prominent and recognisable, there is a world of the yet‐to‐bediscovered. I always look forward to uncovering these best‐kept secrets; and what I saw during this year’s Friss Hús – a festival dedicated to short films, many made by students – both surprised and reassured me.

Strangely, most films felt timid and play‐it‐safe. It is surely not easy to be a young filmmaker, and it takes time to find one’s voice – but when is it more failsafe to play and subvert than while one is still shielded by university walls? Surprising was the level of conservatism in both style and themes: quite a few films were set in a countryside that seemed almost mythical, telling stories about godly presence or traditional morality tales. Few explored innovative ways of storytelling or played with the possibilities of new technologies; and when they did – as in Gyöngyi Fazekas’ Saudade – the predictable narrative overshadowed an effective idea.

Yet, reassuringly, a few films really shone. Péter Lichter played with found footage in his beautiful Rimbaud, adding to it a poetic rhythm; Fanni Szilágyi’s End of Puberty had ingredients distinctly Hungarian to my eye – the grotesque, the appalling, the pitiful – yet combined them with a tender affection for characters that felt fresh and new; and István Kovács’ Concrete Noise perhaps had a familiar look and feel (like a Hungarian version of Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby), but it was a remarkable feat both in production and execution. And let us not forget the animated gems: Zsuzsi Kreif and Bori Zétényi’s playful, cheeky Limbo‐Limbo Travel danced to its own contagious beat. It is works like these that signal good things are yet to come. And seeing women’s voices being equally loud and proud as those of their male colleagues is a little extra to be excited about.