Hungary / South Korea / France, 2014, dir. György Pálfi
“What tea do you want? We’ve got some mint tea,” mutters an old woman to her apathetic husband. She then goes up to the roof of her apartment block from where she surveys Budapest’s evening skyline. And she jumps.
Plunging past the apartments that fill her grey Communist block, and their inhabitants, her fall sets a mise-en-scène in which György Pálfi allows the viewer brief glimpses into the strange and darkly comedic lives of this microcosm of contemporary Hungarian society. Free Fall masterfully demonstrates Pálfi’s powerful visual style, whose spectrum ranges from sci-fi to social realism, but which is interspersed throughout with elements of the grotesque, surrealism and absurdity.
One by one, the viewer is introduced to the small worlds inside the apartments of this non-descript Communist-era building, each one telling a story more incredible than the last: from a hyper-hygienic couple who make love through plastic to avoid bodily contact, to a woman who wants her baby put back inside her, and a boy who seems to be the only one who sees the proverbial bull – in its terror-inducing full size – in the flat.
Free Fall was commissioned by the Jeonju Film Festival, and has since gone on to win numerous awards, including the Best Director Award and Special Jury Prize at the 2014 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, and a nomination for Best Feature at the Chicago International Film Festival in the same year.
About New East Cinema
New East Cinema is a bi-monthly film series curated by The New Social, presented by Calvert 22 in collaboration with the Barbican Centre, which looks across eastern Europe, the Balkans, Russia and Central Asia to uncover the most thought-provoking, daring and vibrant cinema coming from today’s “New East”.