Hide and seek
Hungary, 2017, short film,
Sony FS7, 16:9, colour, 14 min., speed: 25 fps
Hide and seek (full short film with english subtitle):
The story takes place in a poor family in Hungary.
The main caracter is a 7 years old boy, called Matyi. He loves to play hide and seek, but he knows no bounds. He constantly hiding somewhere annoying his parents and he doesn’t come out even when the whole family is looking for him.
As he became the fifth child in the family, his mother hadn’t intented to keep him just another pain in the ass for her mom. However, the father is very fond of the boy and only he has patience for him. One day his father disappeared and his mother was left alone with his undisciplined child.
We made the shortfilm on original poor areas with amateur actors.
Based on a true story.
Director, screenplay: Benő Gábor Baranyi
Director of photography: Dávid Gajdics
Editor: László Dunai
Sound: Huba Pongrácz
Production designer: Sára Szalai
Production manager: Zsuzsi Gyurin
Producer: Zsuzsi Gyurin, Benő Gábor Baranyi
Production company: Salamandra Film
Making of Hide and seek:
Hide and seek trailer:
I was always fascinated by the movies where the caracters are naturalistic with lifelike behaviour like in the documentary or in the hidden camera footage. These kind of creations are such as Milos Forman’s films from Czechoslovakia, or the films of the Budapest school from Hungary in the 70’s.
The common things are in these movies that not real actors are featured only regular people. The cast don’t learn dialogues they express themself only by their own words. They aren’t professional actors, so it’s obious they are playing in the life situations similar to their actual life. The shootings go on at authentic places instead of studios.
I began to create the ’’Hide and seek’’ followed by these traditions. The similarities with the reality was the main goal of the movie.
The story is based on true events. In a little village, a woman got pregnant and attempted to make an abortion herself. She tried to scratch her kids with knitting needle but it wasn’t succesful. The kid was born as a premature baby and damaged for the rest of his life. An old lady, who knows the whole family, she said: ,,They tried to scratch their kid but that damn kid hide in his momma’s ass.’’ These words has shaken me. It tells a whole story about a little child who’s annoying to his whole environment, because he’s damaged that’s he always hides and piss his parents off. He had been playing ’’hide and seek’’ even when he hadn’t born .
This sentence effected me and the next day at 22th November 2012 I woke up and called my wokplace to let them know, I’m going to start my job only in the afternoon. During that morning I wrote the first draft.
First, the script was little bit different. More scenes were featured in. Even with the needle part of the movie what finally, we were shooting. But in the end we cut off that scene from the final movie.
I competed for certain companies with my own script and I could take a chance to participate in the Dunaversitas Scriptwriting Workshop where I was teached by Sándor Sára and in other hand I received a certain budget for researching from the Filmjus foundation. Rights even searching actors and locales. During that time I was looking for a family with similar living conditions such as the caracters of my movie. I began to make a documentary as a pre-study to my feature film.
I visited a lot of special school until I finally found Matyi. He is the child actor of my shortfilm. The last day of the elementary school I got a permission to visit to the Pető Institute (special elementary school). There was a lot of children who I could talk with, but none of them was able to play the role. Once again descriped clearly I told the teachers wich kind of characer I’m looking for: Boy around seven, recognizibly premature baby but really bright, intelligent and not scared of the camera. At the end of the day one of the teacher told me about Matyi, who might be able to play the role. Unfortunatelly he has already left the school, and they are not coming back, beacuse the holiday starts from the next day. The situation was made more difficult, that the teacher didn’t give me his phone number.
Fortunately I could reach Matyi and his mother in the school, when they just stepped out of the door. I was talking with them about my own idea and let them know I’m looking for a child character. I asked Matyi: ,,Do you like to play hide and seek?’’ He just jumped up and screamed: ,,I love to play hide and seek.’’ In that moment i realized he’ll be perfect. I asked their phone number and left with satisfaction.
The same day my bag was stolen, contained with Matyi’s phone number. I didn’t even remember his last name and I couldn’t find anybody in his elementary because the vacation have already started.
Me and Dávid Gajdics (the cimatographer of Hide and seek) visited a lot of little village to seek locations and actors. We were visiting the poorest part of the country. Our trip wasn’t really safe. When we were roaming around the run down locations usually found roads where almost everybody was unemployment. They were just standing in front of their houses and watching us with piercing look because we were strangers. Once I was attacked by a dog and two 9-years old kids threatened me to take my camera. We found certain houses built by garbage and their size was as big as a car.
The most potential nominee was not found in the village rather in the capital not so far from my home. Her name is Viktória. She was begging in the bus stop. I had been late, so I had just got on the bus but when I watched trough the window suddenly got off. I was with Zsuzsi Gyurin (the producer of Hide and seek) and both of us decided to try the movie with her. We were playing a situation game and she performed very well. We paid her a coffee in a Café near to us. It was a very wealthy place. She was wearing messy clothes and the coffee bar fell into silence when the people noticed that.
I told her: her performance was perfect, and I would like to give her a role in my short film. She stood up and screamed: ,,I’m gonna play in a real movie!’’
It was hard but finally, I could find Matyi again. His performance was very good. We played hide and seek and he hid a place where everybody saw him. Zsuzsi pretended to seeking him but couldn’t find him. While she was seeking me and the cameraman was standing close to Matyi and focused on his face with the camera but his face was even excited wasn’t matter that we were there. He felt like nobody knows where did he hide.
We have located the scene in a crumbly slum village next to a loess wall, and we have found the best man actor for the role László Petró in the Homeless Theatre. Uncle Laci was the man, who switching the lights and the music in the theatre, but when an actor was absent he was asked to play the role, because he knew all the script of the theatre play. That’s how he got an actor.
I borrowed some money from my best friends and with the encouragement of Zsuzsi I decided that I am going to shoot the film at the summer of 2014 from 2000 Euros.
The crew was together to August and we planned 6 days of shoot.
The first day was fine. But one of the main actor, Viktória didn’t come to the shoot on the second day. Viktória is homeless. She lived in a home for elderly what took all of her retiring pension and she had to pan-handle. She had two sons and they persuaded her to give her home to them. She did this and the sons just dropped her out to the streets that’s how she become a homeless.
She didn’t have a cell phone but she always was at the right place in the right time that we said to her. When she didn’t show up on the second day the half of the crew started to shoot and the other half tried to find her on the streets and at the homeless people. After a few hours we found out where she was: she told the story about her role in the movie and the director of the home for elderly locked her up illegally for a month. As the truth revealed after a while they did this because they felt ashamed of her: she is messy and she was panhandling and they didn’t want that to revealed that woman live at their institution.
I stopped the shooting because I totally despaired of it. Some people of the crew were demanded to continue the movie with a professional actress. I wouldn’t hear of it. I wanted to make a good film where the poor people were played by poor people and not satiated professionals.
The half of the money has been lost and the movie was not finished. I was looking for producers but they were not interested in or they wanted to change the script and swap my crew with their people. Instead of this, I established a film production company with my partner Zsuzsi Gyurin and we competed for a subsidy at the Hungarian Media Patronage Program and we won about 7000 Euros.
For long, I insisted that Viktória plays as the mother’s character. We gave a try to dispute with the director of the home for elderly to don’t obstruct Viktória from the role. The director was looking like she gave the permission but in the summer of 2015 one week before the shooting Viktoria has disappeared again. According to the rummours, her was involved in a bad company and they moved her into another home of elderly and its address was secret because they didn’t want that her criminal friends find her. We should have shooting one week later and we were there without Viktória again. I tried to find a new main actor but it was very difficult to organize the shooting besides.
After a few days I went to the shooting locale, into a ruined house at the end of the village to sign the papers about the locale rent with Rozi, the owner of it. I complained that the main actor was gone and there is nobody to play that role. Rozi just stood up from the desk and told me loudly: “Why don’t you begin with this? I’m really interested in the play of this role.” I had a camera with me and I asked Rozi to play an improvised scene with his father. It was fantastic. Better than Viktória was. That how she got the role instead of Viktória.
It’s really hard to shooting film with a child actor. Only a few of them can play their role like their mimics and their sentences are looking authentic. And I wanted to make a credible movie. I didn’t want Matyi to know the story and the script, I just wanted to get him into some situations and record the authentic reactions of him. I asked the parents of Matyi to don’t tell him anything about the script. I don’t want him to being prepared to the scenes.
I made long notes for every scenes about what information should have to tell to the actors and about the instructions to lead the situations to the way that I want to saw and these should have to being surprise to the actors to they can’t plan their reactions before the shoot.
For the little boy, Matyi, it was a special difficult to planning situations that can inviting the reactions that I expected in the movie like resentment, but the actors couldn’t rebuke him or having and argument with him because he didn’t want to come to playing role anymore.
There was a scene where the mother start yelling with her son, raise up her hand to beat him and the frightened boy just runs away. We shot this scene like I said to Matyi he and his mother is in a running competition. When Rozi yells and raise her hand, they will start to running and the winner will be that person who reach the door first. We record this scene a lot of times and Matyi was so excited that he always won. If we watch the scene with the original sound footage we can see as the mother rebuke him, Matyi start to run at the door and he yells “I am the winner!”.
The running time of the film is 14 minutes and it was shot for 10 days. There was a case when we had to make an extra shoot, because some drunk, aggressive guys from the neighbourhood were bundle not just us but the whole family out. The whole crew was ready to shoot when Rozi sent me a text message that we can’t go close to the house, she runs away from home too and she is hiding in the forest. She spend the night there too, mosquitos pinched her all over her body.
But the movie is ready now and in spite of these bad things we are really happy because it is like what we want it to be like.
Beno Gabor Baranyi
the director of Hide and seek
Hide and seek Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bujocskafilm