Each city has its own legend. Budapest’s surrounds its revered Chain Bridge, and the enduring myth that they pull it, ornamental lions and all, into the adjoining tunnel to keep everything dry in the rain. In a collaboration between We Love Budapest and graduates from famed Budapest-based MOME University of Art and Design, Bálint Halasi has produced a charming short film inspired by the story. Ahead of next week’s Anilogue Animation Festival in Budapest, we meet the man behind this latest interpretation of the treasured tale.
We Love Budapest: You seem to have produced a good many works already…
Bálint Halasi: With the guys from MOME, we still run two studios – PIROS Animation put together the intros for this year’s Kiskakas Animation Festival. For the first time we worked with Damján Lazin to produce Le Chef for the French Institute, shown at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival. We try to create the most interesting things at home, particularly when working with people who have an interesting vision of what they want to achieve.
WLB: Your current film surrounds one of Budapest’s most popular legends.
BH: I was lucky when we got the themes for our third-year exam assignment, and that one fell into my lap. It’s not so much which one you pull out of the hat, it’s what you do with it. When hit upon the story about the Chain Bridge being pulled into the Tunnel in the rain, I immediately saw several approaches. It was important to find something that was quick and easy to do, something that wouldn’t tie me up for too long, that would keep me entertained while I was doing it – and which wouldn’t lose its attraction during the production process.
There was also a question as to why the bridge had to be pushed and from which perspective I was telling the story. It was important to do something that was mine alone, as I had only done commercials and video clips up until now, not even in 2D, because I preferred using stop motion.
WLB: Did they tell you the same story when you were little? What other connections do you have with Budapest?
BH: No, not to me, but some of my friends were told this tale. You can become blasé with the city you see every day, even one as beautiful as Budapest. When you are in it, you do not see these kinds of things, so that’s why legends are good, they allow you to see the city with new eyes. When I walk with my foreign friends and I know where the most delicious lunch or the best view is, then I realise how much I like to live here.
WLB: Which kind of technique did you use and why?
BH: Finally I decided to use digital-drawing animation, which means that nothing has been photographed or drawn on paper but it has the effect of a classic drawing. It also occurred to me that I might paint it, but that would have been very time consuming. One of the peculiarities of my animation is that the visual world is very flat, all the spaces are ironed out.
My aim was to make it like a clever eight-year-old kid had done it. The sounds of the animation reinforce this childhood feeling, that’s my voice on the film. The concept was to make the whole film like a little child playing. That’s why there is no music, you just switch off completely for the next one and a half minutes while you are watching.
WLB: And what’s next?
BH: I would like to reach the top of my profession, create a few surprising things that people say can’t be done. Many people have talent – it’s a question of digging it out.
Here’s the video: