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Kontroll making waves from AFI

KONTROLL: a Hungarian film takes you through a trip when your job becomes your reality
“Can’t make waves if you don’t have any water.”
Ticket inspector upon the staff going to a psychiatrist

Hungary, 2004, 106 min, Color, 35 MM
In Hungarian with English subtitles
DIR/SCR: Nimrod Antal, PROD: Tamas Hutlassa, DP: Gyula Pados, ED: Istvan Kiraly, MUS: NEO
Cast: Cast: Sandor Badar, Eszter Balla, Csanyi, Gyorgy Cserhalmi, Eniko Eszenyi, Lajos Kovacs, Janos Kulka, Zsolt Laszlo, Bence Matyassy, Zoltan Mucsi, Zsolt Nagy, Csaba Pindroch, Peter Scherer, Gyozo Szabo.

To find beauty amidst hard felt pressure in the underground subway system of Budapest, Hungary may be one of the themes in Nimrod Antal’s KONTROLL, but the aesthetics and character development are what truly bring light to this intriguing, comedic, and provocative film.

Transitions in the film’s introductory scenes consist of the color red linking scene to scene. Red is the standout color, and like other films and directors- M. Night Shamalayn comes to mind- KONTROLL utilizes the in-your-face color to highlight the action in Budapest’s underground railway. The film introduces Bulcsu, a young ticket inspector, with a single blood streak oozing from his nostril. Upon the character’s initial introduction, we can only guess what role he plays in society.

Bulcsu has a crew of 4 other ticket inspectors, all with character development reminiscent of mainstream films, such as Guy Ritchie’s SNATCH or Wes Anderson’s THE ROYAL TENEBAUMS. From the vintage-style clothes they wear to the unique traits they each possess, the characters strengthen the plot and contrast with the ticket-less passengers, constantly evading the ticket inspectors and making their lives hell.

A narcoleptic, an older man, a train inspector rookie, and a disheveled crew member all ban together to conquer the misery they receive from the passengers – drunk, angry, stubborn, or just plain punks. KONTROLL illustrates that men will dual over anything and prove they each man the better when Bulscu’s crew competes with the “best” crew, who receives new uniforms instead of armbands.

The “dress for success” code doesn’t stand a chance underground because once Bulscu is under he stays, and only a young lady has the possibility to pull him out. The director and writer, Nimrod Antal, with his crew filmed this $800,000 budget film in 40 days. It parallels a plot twist bearing a similarity in style as to that of THE SIXTH SENSE, both as films that disturb the audience to a point of extended inquiry.

Michelle Paster

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