Something About Friendship
No matter how hard they form, how fragile they are: human relations are the only things that make a life meaningful. The feature film How To Make Friends observes these relations, the possibilities, and impossibilities of friendship. Based on seven short stories the film is a poetic ensemble drama in 90 minutes.
The stories take place in Eastern–Europe in the 80’s. A time when people lived in the communist regime and could only rely on human connections, on each other. The hope in these relations meant survival. This place is full of the endless controversy between sublime and mediocrity: huge unhealable scars on the mighty landscapes, buildings, objects- on the people’s faces.
The stories seem to run simultaneously. One morning a confident landlord observes his shy tenant through his window when unexpectedly he suggests spending the day together, much to the surprise of the tenant. They drive out to a nearby salty lake. They drift on the water next to each other and according to the landlord, they get to be friends. On the same morning a red Dacia is on its way with a married couple. Their silence is full of tension. They are arranging an adoption. Meanwhile, in the mountains, a ranger breaks up with his lover.
Sometimes it is the location, in other cases, it is a character appearing in a number of episodes that links the stories together. As an example, on the lower Danube, on board of a ship a 50-year-old man, a manager of a hotel accompanies a coffin. The corpse of his dead lover, a 30 years old prostitute, is inside, and now he has to take her to the family. The same ship is carrying two diminutive youngsters as well: the 18 years old Petke, and Barbara. While the two seem to be destined to be friends, they try to find against it. However, they must learn that the captain has a secret plan with them.
On the same morning at a gas station on the way, an embarrassed countryman is having a drink with a prostitute he has slept with. Somewhere near, a bus driver has hit someone on the road. Before turning himself to the police, he wants to take a room in a hotel to collect himself, causing much trouble for the receptionist. Later on it turns out that the woman he hit was the one in the coffin, and the hotel is ran by the manager we’ve met on the ship.
As the title suggests, the film does not lack of irony. Tragedy has the same significance as the tiniest gestures of everyday life which brings every story to verge of absurdity- both comic and melancholic.
Gábor Ferenczi, born in1950, lives in Budapest. Graduate of Academy of Drama, Television and Film and the Budapest Technical University, Department of Civil Engineering. Professor at several Universities (Department of Film History and Film Theory at ELTE; Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest; University of Drama, Television and Film. Independent film director. Directs numerous fictions, documentaries, television programs and magazins, reference films and commercials. Winner of numerous awards for both feature films and documentaries, e.g. : Best TV film – Hungarian Film Week 2009 (“POSSIBILITIES OF MAKING FRIENDS TV”, 2007), Best Direction – Independent Film Festival Hungary, Pál Schiffer Commemorative Prize – Hungarian Film Week, Tolerance Prize (“HUNGARIAN ID”, 2002), Best Direction – Independent Film Festival (“THAT’S ALL ABOUT ME”, 2002), Best Documentary – Kamera Hungária (“…THEN THERE IS THE PRISON, HONEY”, 2000).
Hungarian film director, screenwriter, actor, poet. Born to Turkish parents. He spent his childhood in Germany. In 1969, he joined the Péter Halász troupe. Between 1973 and 1978, he studied on the German and English faculty of Eötvös Loránd University, followed by two years of post-graduate work on German-French comparative linguistics under Jean Marie Zemb of the Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris. He finished in 1980. In 1984, he graduated from the faculty of direction of the Színház- és Filmművészeti Főiskola (Highschool of Theatrical and Video Arts) in Budapest as the student of Zoltán Fábri. In 1991 he moved to Finland for four years.His 1992 film A nyaraló was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival. He has played important roles in several films alongside well known actors such as Isabelle Huppert, Hanna Schygulla, Zuhal Olcay, Tom Berenger and others. In 1978, he had poems published in the Mozgó Világ (Moving World). In 2004, his first collection of poems was released by the publisher Aranykor Kiadó (Golden Age Publisher). He conceived the idea of the Holocaust Memorial Cipők a Duna-parton (Shoes on the Danube Promenade) in Budapest, and was also a co-maker of it with Gyula Pauer.
Since January 1 2008, he is the head of the Collegium Hungaricum Berlin, the Hungarian Institute for Science and Culture in the German capital.
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