Whilst Hungary might not seem, on the face of it, to be a hotbed of filmmaking talent, over the years it has produced a number of exciting directors. The likes of István Szabó, Miklós Jancsó, Zoltán Fábri and Béla Tarr made their name in their homeland and garnered a reputation across Europe and beyond. Whilst The impact of Hungarians on Hollywood has been massive, with both Fox and Paramount founded by emigres. Szabolcs Hajdu has quietly been making a succession of impressive films.
Treasure City follows the denizens of Budapest at night as they go about their business. Kinga (Orsolya Török-Illyés) doesn’t understand why Dorottya (Fanni Wrochna) can’t stop telling lies. Dina (Lujza Hajdu) and Erzsébet (Nóra Földeáki) are at loggerheads over their teenage son (Ábel Krokovay). Whilst Angéla (Lilla Sárosdi) has a breakdown in a florist as her young daughter (Magdó Pálfi) watches on impassively. Their stories wax and wane, interweaving across the city.
Treasure City in a fascinating meditation on modern life in the Hungarian capital. Hajdu transposes his social and political views into the very fabric of his film. There’s a lot of anger in his creation. Malaise, ennui and frustration, as well. The ensemble cast is superb, as is the dialogue which permeates the obtrusive night, but it’s the pacing which really makes everything tick. The kind of offbeat slowness which Roy Andersson revels in. That and a distinctive cinematographic flair make Treasure City an engrossing experience.
Treasure City is released in cinemas, virtual cinemas and on VOD on 18 June.