Karlovy Vary 2018 Review: Hungarian Punk Road Movie BLOSSOM VALLEY Subverts Stereotypes

Contributor; Slovakia (@martykudlac)
Karlovy Vary 2018 Review: Hungarian Punk Road Movie BLOSSOM VALLEY Subverts Stereotypes

Hungarian cinema enjoys a steady presence in the spotlight of world cinema, besides historic pedigree and widely covered heavyweight arthouse offerings such as Son of Saul or On Body and Soul. The director of the latter, Ildikó Enyedi, served as a mentor on the feature debut of emerging director László Csuja, whose film Blossom Valley competed in the East of the West competition at Karlovy Vary.

Csuja had a couple of shorts offerings under his belt, wrote for Hungarian series Marslakók, and worked on his two feature-length project at same time recently. Both debuting offering, fiction film Blossom Valley and documentary Nine Months War, about a boy during the Ukrainian-Russian military conflict, set to be unveiled at Sarajevo Film Festival.

The director himself confesses that the idea for the fiction film Blossom Valley originated based on two concepts, one was a sort of subconscious vision of a girl running with a child, the other intellectual concept - mentally challenged people relationship to parenthood. The first concept provides the form, the latter the substance.

Bianka, a freewheeling wild girl, drabbles on the streets until, more on a whim than anything else, she snatches a crying toddler from an unattended pram. And she runs away. The exposition certainly reminds of The Little Harbour (read the review) although differs entirely in style, tone and ultimately, story. After several attempts to frame potential paternity on past flames in order to elicit cash, Bianka stumbles onto a gullible Laci, clearly with a heart of gold, willing to take care of all three for no apparent reason. And his life is no bed of roses either.

They start living in a worker´s dorm and Laci bends backwards to provide for Bianka and the anonymous toddler without questioning his motivation in the first place. Laci, played by non-professional actor Lászlo Réti, a three-time Special Olympics winner in roller skating in real life, is the Blossom Valley´s working-class Forrest Gump.

Loveable and admirable for his zeal, his motivation remains veiled under the Good Samaritan archetype and his zealous drive to please everybody. Bianka´s, portrayed by Bianka Bérenyi a model in real life with punk inklings, transgression against the society seems to be fueled solely by her anarchist spirit.

Csuja establishes the plot based on the unorthodox unity of antagonistic characters tailing the couple headlong. According to the director, Blossom Valley is about the pursuit of happiness, embodied in Bianka´s unrestrained freedom, and at the same time about parenthood from the point of view of mentally-challenged people (Rok Biček´s time-lapse documentary The Family could serve as a full-fledged reference point).

Yet Blossom Valley does not submit to the label of psychological drama. On the contrary, the Hungarian director weaves a rich patchwork of genres and familiar patterns while subverting them. The lovers-on-the-run narrative appears at face value, the two "parents" try to make it together for the sake of "their" child, avoiding trappings of romance keeping the relationship purely chaste and platonic while twisting it into a form of quirky rom-com.

Blossom Valley is basically a road movie kicked off as a heist only to segue into social realist drama midway. For the two central topics, it is surely an adrenaline ride driven by its unpredictability that further feeds the overall punk-ish and genre-bending eccentricity of the whole film.

The punk attitude towards the hybridization of arthouse drama and genre remains at heart of Blossom Valley that aims to dissect rather serious topic while setting the pulse racing in adrenaline rush. Csuja revealed a lot of improvisation took place which adds the rough coating to the story along upending the dynamics between two protagonists.


  • László Csuja
  • László Csuja
  • Nagy V. Gergö
  • Berényi Bianka
  • Réti László
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Karlovy Vary 2018Karlovy Vary International Film FestivalLászló CsujaNagy V. GergöBerényi BiankaRéti LászlóDrama

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