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Bus Stop (Bushaltestelle) won a 4-star award at BIAFF 2008
Bushaltestelle (buszmegálló)/ Bus stop - The idea, the
film, the success
|When I shot the movie BUSHALTESTELLE in summer 2005 on a
filmworkshop in the small village Ravazd somewhere in West
Hungary, I never expected, that I would have such a great success
The simple story about three men waiting for the bus and doing nothing except snoring, eating and dreaming, was shown in 30 festivals in five countries winning several prizes, such as the 3rd audience prize in Oldenburg on the Zwergwerk-festival or the jury prize at the Bundesfilm Festival in Wiesbaden.
|When I think back now, it is a wonder that this film actually
got realized and kept the atmosphere I wanted for it. When I took
part in the filmworkshop, held by the famous Hungarian Mediawave
company, I had only made action movies and some short parodies
with my brothers and friends.
We are a group of hobby amateur-filmmakers, called HMW-COOPERATION, and we shoot without any finance, with a lot of ideas and for a few years now with remarkable success.
|But this film would be my first serious work, with actors, who were double my age, with a real script and taff planning. The situation was more difficult, as I am German and had to explain everything to everyone in Hungarian. So, it was no wonder that neither the workshop members nor the actors had a clue what I actually wanted to do. I had no plan, no script, just the idea of parodizing the great opening scene of Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West with old lazy Hungarians and some children. There was a lot of quarrelling among the other filmmakers, who wanted to help me, and even the teachers had their own version of my film and wanted me to realize it their way.
|Only the leader of the workshop, the wonderful Jenö Hartyándi, a
coryphea in Hungary with contacts from Siberia to New York,
trusted my strange way of shooting movies without any plan. In a
pub he organized an old farmer for the part of the sleeping and
snoring man. Another farmer would play the second man - but on the
day of shooting he didn't appear. Surely he was lying drunk in
some corner then, which was nothing special in this village that
was surrounded by wine hills and where only children were sober.
At least I could trust my young actors, two boys and a girl, who I picked up on the street.
|For the other parts I spontaneously forced the jazz-saxophone
player István Grencsó to act the part of the missing farmer and
the owner of a small cinema in Györ, Zoltán Hajnal, to play the
third bored guy. Both are members of Mediawave.
During the shooting of the movie I had to cope for the first time with the difficulties of being a director, who has to show strength and authority but shouldn't offend his actors; who never acted before in any movie and actually just wanted to escape from the sun and drink a beer.
|The other workshop members were standing around me and all had
better ideas how to shoot the scenes and discussed them during the
actual shooting. The children laughed at the snoring old farmer,
cars and trucks went by and I slowly started to lose my concept of
a movie about a bus stop in a quiet, lost village with a few
sounds underlining the desert-like atmosphere.
I couldn't really explain to the actors what I wanted from them, so I just let them do it their way. Actually the children understood me better than the old men, and the shooting with them on the second day was more relaxing.
|At the end, I was lucky that everything turned out so well. Even
an old lady got off the bus at the right moment, which I saw as a
good sign from above. During the editing of the movie I had to
remove most of the original sounds and rerecord them. The fly for
instance, which gets caught and squeezed, is my own modified
mouthhumming combined with cracking wood.
Finally I can say, that I am satisfied with the result, allthough there were a lot of difficulties and chaos during the shooting.
|It is surprising to see the movie going through the festivals, but a big pleasure. For me it is also proof that sometimes one doesn't need a real plan to make a movie, only a sense of good faces, improvisation and situations and some luck at the right moment. Also the end of the film was the result of a mistake. The farmer with the spoons didn't understand my poor Hungarian instructions and so he kept on playing and acting, while the others had already given up.
To conclude I can say, that I am really proud of my first 'serious' movie and I am glad that it was also liked by audiences. Actually it would be nothing without the great old faces and the natural young actors, who I found in this small village somewhere in West Hungary.
Lars Henze, May 2008