Karlovy Vary film festival East of the West competition: Barhtalo!

By Gyorgy Karpati

    Robert Lakatos' directorial feature film debut Bahrtalo! competes in the East of the West section at the 43rd Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. The international co-production is a primarily Hungarian movie made by Inforg Studio (www.inforgstudio.hu), which teamed up with Austria's Nikolaus Geyrhalter Filmproduktion and the Germany's Intuit Pictures.

    The making of Bahrtalo! started with a short film. Before the EU's enlargement, Nikolaus Geyrhalter Filmproduktion came up with the idea to make an omnibus film, Across the Border: Five Views from Neighbors, in which each new EU member was invited to make a 25-minute short film. Andras Muhi, line producer and head of Inforg Studio told FNE that the Austrian partner chose director Robert Lakatos after watching his short film The Kingdom of Silence and the Hungarian film Good Luck. It was shot as a fictional documentary and full of potential in the characters of the two real life friends who played themselves in the film.

    The movie was filmed in Erdely, Vienna and Cairo on a budget of €300,000 euros. 40% of the amount came from Hungary (half of it from the Hungarian Motion Picture Foundation) and the rest of it from co-producers and the pre-sales. The Hungarian theatrical release was through the distribution company MOKEP (www.mokep.hu); and the international sales company are handled by the English based Taskovski Films (www.taskovskifilms.hu), which had an international success with Czech Dream. The film has already had a Hungarian theatrical release and is currently running in Budapest and throughout the country. It has been sold to Britain's Channel 4, and Tv Ontario (Canada), Yle Tv (Finnland), Dr Tv (Denmark).

    Director Robert Lakatos was born in Romania and graduated in cinematography from the National Film and Television Academy in Lodz, Poland, in 2000. He is a Romanian citizen of Hungarian nationality. Since 2004 he has been teaching directing at Romania's Sapientia University. His short film Diabols, made in 2003, won the best short film award at the 35th Hungarian Film Week.

    Bahrtalo! is an original fiction documentary which follows the adventures a pair of Hungarians. Lali and Lori come from Transylvania and remain friends to the end. The charismatic duo initially set out for Vienna and later go off to Egypt together. Though their failures have been many, and even their successes short-lived, their friendship manages to overcome all obstacles. Muhi said the movie is a nice continuation of the tradition of the so called Budapest School, an interesting and famous Hungarian fiction documentary style of the 1970's and 1980's represented by Istvan Darday, Bela Tarr, Pal Schiffer.

    Bahrtalo! debuted at the Hungarian Film Week in February in the competition section and has its international premiere will be in the East of the West competition section in Karlovy Vary.