Szép napok

Hungary

Synopsis

Péter is let out of the youth correction institution for a leave. He goes to see his sister, Mária. Arriving at the laundrette where she works, he becomes witness of a birth. A girl he doesn't know gives birth to a boy. Mária buys the infant. Péter remains unobserved. Silently, he goes back to the institution.
Two months later Péter is released from the institution. He goes to see Ákos, once his best friend. But now, it seems, he can't stay with him. He wants a passport, to be able to go to the sea, or anywhere, He has to wait before he can get one. A week or a month? lt is not known. He doesn't want to end up in the laundrette, where the bought baby is the new family member. He is the only one to know how Mária came across the child. He is the only one to know who the real mother is. His sister jealously guards her secret, is none too happy about her brother's release. The unknown girl, Maya, intrigues Péter. He wants her and looks for her.
Péter takes up a job in a scrap-yard involve in shady business. He finds out that the owner, Jänos keeps Maya. But Maya wants Ákos. The father of her son. Who is no longer Péter's best friend. When one night Péter and Ákos arrive at the scrap-yard in a stolen car, they see Maya dance. She will obviously be the fate of all three men.
However, Maya starts flirting with Péter too. Péter shows her the child she has long wanted to forget. Jänos sees them together, becomes jealous of Péter. In a fit of rage, he throws Maya out of the flat he has rented for her. She has nowhere to go.
The passport arrives. Mária takes it over from the postman, but conceals it from Péter.
After a desperate night, Maya wants her child back. Mária now takes the money Maya has brought back and the passport. Pays for the child a second time. Charges Péter to get the girl out of the way, to take her with him to the sea. Maya also asks for the boy's help, wants him to testify for her at the guardianship court. So that she can have her child 'pack. Promises him her love if he helps to prove the baby's hers.
Péter apparently has a choice.

Director's Statement

The first challenge for me is always to find the actors. When 1 met Tamás Polgár during my short film „AFTA/ Day After Day", I knew immediately that he would be the lead actor of my feature. Despite all the „contrareasons" — that he had little acting experience and until the first day of shooting, he was in a detention home — I was firm with my decision in casting him. Nobody could change my mind because I felt that his talent and his „nudity" in front of the camera provided such a secret for the audience that could never be revealed using a professional actor. Because of this decision, I had to match everybody to him, and that is why we mainly worked with other amateurs.
I had to convince the actors that they only needed to give the deepness of themselves, completely, to bring life to each character. 1 trusted that their honesty would reflect my honesty as well.
The most exciting part of the story is that the center of every moment is Peter (Tamás Polgár).
He arrives from the outside and into the tragedies of two women and he is consumed with the happenings in their lives. Ultimately, he is at the wrong place at the wrong time.
During the making of this feature, I tried to diverge from my own life and film experiences. So I tried to give a new (if that is possible) rhythmical and dramatic structure to Pleasant Days. I was thinking of presenting slices of reality, in a documentary way, however in a tight story. Consequently, we implemented a very guided improvisation — so that's why I didn't allow the actors to read the script before shooting. In my opinion, film is not text but pictures.
In the film we operate with a visual technic which eventually simplifies itself in the end. In this film, visuality follows the rule of entropy it falls apart.
My main Intention with this film was to create a special feeling, like breathing mountain air, very clean and crisp, however, it can suffocate us, because of the lower amount of oxygen.
Pleasant Days should be viewed as a social criticism.
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Cast & Crew

Directed by: Kornél Mundruczó

Written by: Kornél Mundruczó, Viktória Petrányi, Sándor Zsótér

Produced by: Sophie Kende, Viktória Petrányi, Kornél Sipos

Cinematography: András Nagy

Editing: Vanda Arányi

Production Design: Ágnes Szabó

Sound Design: Gábor Balázs

Main Cast: Károly Kuna (Józsi), Anna Szandtner (Claudi), Tamás Polgár (Peter), Orsolya Tóth (Maya), Kata Wéber (Marika), Lajos Ottó Horváth (János ), András Réthelyi (Ákos)

Nominations and Awards

  • European Discovery of the Year - Fassbinder Award  2002