Focus on Csak a szél (Just the Wind)
Official Selection of the LUX Prize 2012 includes Bence Fliegauf's film Csak a szél (Just the Wind). The 37-year-old filmmaker directed, but also also wrote the script, took on production design, and helped compose the music for his fifth feature Csak a szél. Inspired by a series of murders that occurred between 2008 and 2009, when families of Hungarian Romanies were targeted by local death squads, the film is a rural thriller set to a background of racism featuring a Gypsy family of the great plains being hunted down by killers.
To tell his story, Fliegauf choses a narrow timeframe of just one day, starting at sunrise when the mother of one of the families (Katalin Toldi), gets up and wakes her two children, the teenage girl Anna (Gyongyi Lendvai) and her younger sibling, Rio (Lajos Sarkany), who doesn’t take school as serious as his older sister. Their family is completed by grandfather Tomi (Gyorgy Toldi), who has suffered a stroke.Throughout the day, all three encounter casual racism directed at their own community, be it at work, at school or on the streets in an overheard conversation between two policemen.
The film gives a good idea of how ingrained in popular opinion the hate of Romanies has become in Hungary that no one, perhaps not even those affected, think it strange. Without judging, the film stresses the feeling of being unwelcomed. Suspicious looks, harsh words and obstinate silences that say so much is all Mari and her children receive as soon as they leave their little slum. Even in these terms, happiness is possible and little moments like taking a swim in a lake, flower picking and wandering through the woods are hints that the tension is exterior. Anyway, Mari and her children, are “good gypsies”, as the policemen say, and have nothing to fear. Or so it seems...
But this attitude and its verbal expression can lead to more serious physical problems, and the violence that awaits the end of the day has already been announced in a title card at the start of the film, adding a continuous sense of dread that is further reinforces by the spare musical and close-to-the-characters camerawork.
Agilely avoiding any clichés about the situation of the Roma in Eastern Europe (a topic recently addressed by numerous films), Fliegauf has chosen non-professional actors and immerged himself in a community that he knew very well in his childhood and adolescence. The director, who create an oppressive climate in his film, in particular through the close-ups of cameraman and director of photography Zoltán Lovasi, stressed in Berlin that he had embarked on the project after intense recurring dreams, and not from any desire to denounce or to conduct a sociological study.
Csak a szél has been awarded at the last Berlin Film Festival (Jury Grand Prix), as well as at the Paris Cinéma Film Festival (Jury prize).
Produced by Mónika Mécs, András Muhi, and Ernö Mesterházy for the Hungarian production company Inforg-M&M Film (the filmmaker’s partner for years), Csak a szél was co-produced by Germany (Rebekka Garrido and Michael Reuter for The Post Republic) and France (Pierre- Emmanuel Fleurantin and Laurent Baujard for Paprika Films). Notably supported by Eurimages, the film is sold by The Match Factory.