WATCH THE TRAILER HERE
First, the Recap:
The beauty of childhood. It’s meant to be a time where cares fade away, everything is exciting and new, and life is only beginning to show its myriad of facets to explore, experience, and learn from. But what happens when that absolute joy found in even one particular undertaking goes suddenly sour? In Budapest, Hungary, a young girl named Zsofi (Dorka Gasparfalvi) winds her way through the halls of a local school she will be attending soon, intently drifting towards the music wafting though the halls. Finding it is the school choir practicing, her reverie is interrupted by her mother’s (Borbala Karadi) call. The following day, Zsofi begins the first day of class as the new girl in town.
Initially awkward but soon finding a new friend in classmate Liza (Dorottya Hais), the two become like peas in a pod, bonding over mutually admired accessories and general like-minded demeanors. Choosing to take part in the school’s renowned and award-winning choir under the guidance of director Miss Erika (Zsofia Szamosi), Zsofi encounters an unexpected and heart-shattering circumstance after practice one afternoon. Disconcerted and ashamed, it is only her closeness with Liza that reveals the inner pain Zsofi’s holding inside. With this revelation and subsequent confrontation with Miss Erika unfolding, a plan is hatched as only the unclouded minds of children could create. As a competitive performance arrives, it becomes an potent illustration of an age-old question–at what price does winning and acclaim come?
Next, my Mind:
Now contained in the short list of 10 films being considered for a 2017 Live Action Short Film Oscar, director/co-writer/co-producer Kristof Deak’s 25-minute drama is so amazingly engaging, undeniably charming, dramatically captivating, very much heartwarming, and deeply affecting in its narrative’s execution that one can easily see why it has garnered the attention and awards consideration. Beautifully crisp, clear, smoothly flowing cinematography perfectly accompanies the characters here, paired with the simple joys of children’s voices during the choral practice and performance sequences. As hinted at above, the power of the story ultimately comes from the lessons it teaches, which are ones we could all stand to re-learn at times when certain means to achieve goals are employed, yet in the success comes the hard reality of the toll it is taking on others involved, which in turn may end up bleeding the triumph and delight away.
Gasparfalvi’s performance Zsofi is absolutely endearing to the highest degree, as the young actress navigates the character’s wide-eyed innocence and initially hesitant manner when joining a new school amongst strangers with a poise and, honestly, distinction that very much belies her age. Watching the range of emotions she takes on–the joy of new friendship, the hurt of being criticized, the release of said distress, and the shared satisfaction of seeing thing even out–is quite engrossing and a testament to the acting skills being presented. Likewise, Hais as Liza is also a study in the intelligent, “beyond-her-years” assessing of the situation at hand when it comes to protecting her new best pal while also being willing to stand up to authority in a way that is by no means intended to be disrespectful or combative, but rather a straightforward exposing of a truth that needs to be dealt with. Hais’ wonderfully plucky attitude and winning smile only serves to make the solution she arrives at all the more satisfying to witness take form and be carried out.
Not to be excluded by any means, Szamosi’s Miss Erika is played with excellence by the actress, who truly delivers a character that we initially love, learn to dislike, and then desire to see her get her comeuppance. Szamosi has very striking eyes, at it truly adds to her character’s overall appearance and bearing when dealing with the children, one moment the kind of teacher you’d want to have, then next one you want to be as far away from as possible thanks to a quietly menacing stare! In total, “Mindenki (Sing)” is one fantastic indie short film effort that surely deserves any and all awards it receives, and I know this reviewer will be watching the upcoming Oscars a little more closely this time around!
As always, this is all for your consideration and comment. Until next time, thank you reading!