Inspired by a wave of violence against the Romani community in Hungary, Genesis – directed by Árpád Bogdán – is a raw and unwavering exploration of the complexity of suffering, told in three parts. We follow the stories of Ricsi, a Romany child, Virág, a partially deaf teenager, and Hanna, a troubled lawyer. All their lives are marred by pain but it is one particular act of violence that draws them together.
Connected by a single racist attack, the stories are presented in isolation. This unusual style results in a film that feels a little disjointed. Ricsi’s tale is a beautiful portrayal of childhood innocence. Intelligent cinematography from Tamás Dobos perfectly captures a child’s abstract understanding of violence. Through the use of compelling close ups and cutaways, we experience the boy’s confusion alongside him. But these same techniques are frustrating in the narratives of the older protagonists. The storytelling gets lost, and we fail to fully connect to their lives and experiences.
However, the elaborately layered and fantastically constructed sound design creates a physical closeness to the characters that helps us penetrate their interior worlds. The muffled sound when Virág removes her hearing aid is powerfully symbolic of her desire to remove herself from the world around her. Shot in dark tones with repeated references to fire and blood, this world is shadowy and corrupted by violence. However, Bogdán seeks to show us there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Aptly named, Genesis is a tale of how to be reborn after tragedy. The director was inspired to make the movie after creating a documentary with those who were victims of the violence in Hungary. An intellectual filmmaker, he sought to represent the suffering caused by the attacks but also to provide a road to recovery, a new beginning.
Fraught with Biblical references, Genesis is also a tale of families, and our longing for acceptance. Bogdán himself grew up in an orphanage and states, “ I, as one who has only ever known a damaged family model, have got a lot to say about that secret, about that wonder, about that hell, about that heaven that is family”. He powerfully portrays the complexity of human relationships and the love and hatred they engender. Genesis is an intricate exploration of the violence that can take place both inside families and upon them and, what results, is a sensitive, thought-provoking examination of human responses to pain.
Genezis (Genesis) does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews from our Berlin Film Festival 2018 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Berlin Film Festival website here.
Watch the trailer for Genezis (Genesis) here: