sábado, 13 de junio de 2015



FESTIVALES DE CINE FANTÁSTICO tuvo la oportunidad de charlar con Károly Ujj Mészáros , director de la maravillosa "LIZA, THE FOX-FAIRY" que arrasó en la reciente edición del Festival Nocturna 2015.
A petición expresa del director la entrevista se mantendrá en inglés , idioma original en el que se confeccionaron las preguntas.

Si queréis traducirla podéis visita el siguiente enlace.

After performing a dozen short films, Liza is their first feature film, apart from funding, what were the main difficulties of the shoot? How many years of work were used to make this cinematic gem?

Well the process lasted 8 years, since the first treatment I wrote back in 2007. So it was a long journey. Filmteam - the production company led by producer Istvan Major - and my co-writer Balint Hegedűs joined six months later.
The major difficulty was regarding the production besides the funding was post production that included approximately 350 VFX shots. That is a very big number in Hungary actually.

The film is incredibly surprising. How do you get to combine a history of Japanese fairy tale with Hungarian culture?

If you are in a world of a fairy-tale you can combine anything. Fox-fairy stories travel well:) I was already working on my film when I came across a book by Vikrtor Pelevin , the very strange Russian writer. That book is about a fox-fairy living in Moscow. Well it is such a postmodern strange world we live in...

His film shows a sincere affection for Japanese pop culture. Where does this hobby?

Japanese pop is a fascinating subject matter. It followed mostly the world trends from rockabilly to synth pop, but in a very amusing way. Just take a listen to Tokyo Beatles. On the turn of the century J-pop had a very interesting period, where it became trendsetter from trend follower. Unique sounds and blends of styles emerged to create a very interesting musical scene. Check Fantastic Plastic Machine, the work of Yasuharu Konishi, DJ Krush and so on.

We must highlight the work of all actors and actress Monika mainly Balsai. To what extent your experience in the theater has served to directing actors in this film?

Definitely. I only made one thetre play but that experience completely changed my attitude towards directing actors. I love actors and I feel priviledged to share working time with them. They are special creatures, like a special breed of humans who has fantastic abilities. Next year I might work in theatre again, that makes me thrilled. We had a month long rehearsal session before the shoot where we worked on characters and many situatuions in the film.

Do you think his influence on film cinema films of Marc Caro, Jean-Pierre Jeunet or Wes Anderson? What other directors influenced your work?

Well you might name many talents that influenced in a way my work. I love David Lynch, Louis Bunuel, the Hungarian Peter Gothar, Zoltan Fabri, Aki Karuismaki, Mike Leigh, Thomas Anders Jenssen, and obviously Jeunet - they are all free spirits in a way. I deliberately choose many ways anti-Amélie approaches in my directorial choices, nevertheless people tend to compare Liza with Amelie. I wanted to do Liza a much darker, bitter and more ironic film than Amelie. If you look at the images, the shots and editing, and grading it is far from Jeunet's style. However the single, timid heroine and her lonely quest for happyness in a fairy-tale  makes such a strong connection in people's head, that is hard to work against. Well Wes Anderson is a tough call. I saw his Moonrise Kingdom afetr we shot Liza, and obviously Grand Budapest Hotel was shot way after our film - we shot Liza in 2012. So if you compare Liza to those films that is in a way a coincidence. Again - look at the shots of Anderson and Look at the shots of Jeunet - they are very-very similar - look at compositions, look at handling of colors, look at camera moves - fast tracking shots they are extremely close. If you see Liza carefully, it is much conservative in a way and work in a different language.

We must confess that the Hungarian film except a title, is a real unknown to the Spanish public. However we know that their country is used for a variety of shooting. How would you describe the current situation of the Hungarian film? What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

Well Liza is a different film from the mainstream Hungarian trends. We have traditionally many hardcore auteur films from brilliant directors like Bela Tarr, Kornel Mundruczo, Bence Fliegauf, and most recently the Cannes winner Laszlo Nemes (Son of Saul).
Besides than we have mainstream comedies that try to follow the American recipes of success. Our film is between the two, in a grey area. Something strange - it was a hit in a box-office and it collects prizes on film festivals and 90% very good reviews from critics. Now the Hungairan film started to change. Many first time filmmakers got a chance to prove their abilities and mostly they were successful. So it might change that pattern, and hopefully new colors can appear on the palette. I hope this will result in a surprising new stream of Hungarian Films.

Does the success of Liza, the Fox-Fairy can make you move abroad to shoot the rest of his films?

What is your opinion of American remakes of European films of success?
Would you like to see an American remake of his film?

Why not? it would be great! More people would like to see the original one. Like Abre los Ojos by Alejandro Amenábar I saw after Vanilla Sky. And I was amazed by it - the original is truly amazing:)

The film has a number of special effects, as was the post production in relation to the special effects?

Well that was hard. In my next film I plan to do as few VFX shots as possible:) Besides it was great fun too, and I truly adore my colleagues working on that.

Did you have trouble financing the film?

Well that would be a nice documentary about the fist five years of the production: the story had many ups and downs... We have been to many film festivals with the project: Sarajevo, Holland Film Meeting, Rome and Cannes's Atelier. Meanwhile the Hungarian film funding completely changed. We also lost our Danish and German coproducers on the way.
Finally our film was financed mostly by the Hungarian Film Fund and a private investor, and my producer had to do a lot of sacrifices and commitments to do this.
It was not an easy part of the production, but I hope everyone will benefit from it in the future.

With the success he's getting in many European festivals, we imagine that the distribution in Europe is assured. How it's being its film distribution in Asia and America.

Well the distribution is handled by the Hungarian Film Fund. I do not know how it is going. It was in cinemas in Taiwan for sure.
Anyone interested in distributing the film in Spain for example would be very wellcome!
I was lucky to see many Spanish films that were in Hungarian cinemas in the past, and I feel so happy about it.

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