Hungarian filmmaker Ádám Császi got into filmmaking because he knew something was missing.
“Ever since I was 14 years old, I was interested in nothing but art,” Csaszi recalls. “Writing, painting, making music. I had planned to go to fine arts school, but wasn’t interested in manual art – I wanted something with more expression.”
Growing up with a keen interest in the arts was no easy task in Hungary, particularly during the Soviet occupation of the country. Art was simply not important. And even in modern times, LGBT issues are not openly discussed in Hungary, particularly in the countryside.
“Sociographic topic was the main reason I came to filmmaking,” explains Ádám Császi. “Not many filmmakers were willing to address what is going on in Hungary. I was upset about that. The role of the Artist is to comment on what is actually happening in their society. Nobody was addressing this in my country. Ever.”
“I didn’t go to film school at first because no one around was advising me on what to do,” Csaszi shares. “But when I did attend, everything changed for me in film school. It was a really long journey for me. Filmmaking was never a part of the plan, but it was a lucky discovery.”
Csaszi’s feature debut, Land of Storms (Viharsarok), provided the perfect platform for discussing the topics Csaszi is so passionate about. The film follows a Hungarian football player named Szabolcs who leaves his German club to return home and renovate a house in the Hungarian countryside. Through a chance meeting, Szabolcs meets Áron and the two men not only build Szabolcs’s house together, but start to build a relationship in the process. Áron’s friends begin to abandon him and Áron is left with no one but Szabolcs, until one of Szabolcs’s former teammates comes to Hungary for a visit.
“The film was born when I found an interesting crime story in the newspaper about a love triangle. It was set in the Hungarian countryside, so I could talk about the Hungarian countryside and talk about gay issues in the hardest place to do it,” explains the director. “Land of Storms is a search for identity. Szabolcs is looking for his roots, but wants to change his life at the same time. When he and Áron fall in love they don’t talk about it, because in the Hungarian countryside people don’t know how to talk about it.”
Spending 29 days and €250,000 on his film, Adam Csaszi managed to produce a cinematic masterpiece.
“It was easy to do because the crew was so good!” exclaims Csaszi. “My crew brought a lot to the project. They were very professional, but also very passionate about what we were doing.”
The director goes on to explain, “I’m into very thorough preparation, especially a thorough shot list. When you strip down the shots, it gives the audience a chance to focus on every shot. It highlights the single element that is most important. Perception is directed.”
Most audiences agree, the award-winning Land of Storms has received great acclaim for not just it’s story, but also the cinematography. Each image is carefully curated, provided the proper levels of emotion to match that of each character – whether its warmth, loneliness, love, or even vengeance. One might think Csaszi draws his inspiration from some of the best filmmakers of our time.
“I don’t have favorite directors,” he says. “I have favorite books, favorite topics. I make films about topics I saw firsthand.”