Slice – Divide – Multiply. Miklós Falvay: Run

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Miklós Falvay, a former student and current teacher at Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, created Run (Futta) in 2005 as a summary of all the knowledge he had gained at the school in his five years there.

Besides teaching, Falvay works as an animator (My America) and a compositor (Macskafogó 2; Cat City 2). He worked together with Attila Kékesi on his documentary, entitled Motalko, a film using a special 3D photo-animation technique and telling the story of the first petrol station of Hungary – and its owner. This year he appeared as the art director/animator of Márton Szirmai’s Grimm Café. Run, which – according to a well-known Hungarian film theorist, Balázs Varga – is mainly a „self-reflective game of reproduction and multiplication”, is interesting for several reasons, as it has remained topical even eight years after its premiere.

The film starts with a five-second-long close up, showing ground covered with flora. The harmony of wind blowing and a bird chirping is being upset by a disturbing murmur, which immediately guarantees the end of the idyllic state. In a few moments a naked foot hops into the picture and vanishes as fast as it appeared, then the setting returns to its previously presented „natural” state. The next shot shows the branch of a bush (or a tree) being run over by the same foot, but this time instead of his foot we see the man’s shin. After a few seconds of standstill the runner „messes up” the shot of a tree trunk, and instead of remaining still the camera hangs on the man’s body and, while changing its position, starts mapping the host. An „almost-POV” gives space for an ECU of the man’s hair, then while showing out from the man and flying around his forehead, the camera scouts the wrinkles of his face, the bridge of his nose and the shape of his lips. A real POV of the runner subtly turns into an MCU following the movement of his legs, and the sequence ends with a full body WS.

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After the first minute of the film it is clear that it has an ingenious, deep-laid structure. The size of the shown natural elements (blade of grass, stick, trunk, forest) changes parallel with the extension of the frame showing the man’s features (foot, shin, leg, man). The noises inside the diegetic space are teased by different sound-effects which carries on with the nature/intruder concept. Instead of repeating the same schema ad nauseum, Falvay mixes it up with moving, handycam shots and the rapid change of frames and viewpoints. This first segment is the stage of „slicing”, while the next one is the sequence of „fission”, introduced by the image of a line of trunks, marking the beginning of a new chapter. The illustration of the process of the „fission” implies a creative, playful creator, who—instead of making do with the strong start and following the previously used, predictable language—chooses a new path and performs an evolutionary jump.

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This time we see a full body figure (Falvay himself) running into a motionless picture of a trail flanked with trees leaving his shadow on one of the trunks. The at first dark silhouette follows his owner at a distance by loping from tree to tree, until he changes his 2 dimensional form into a 3 dimensional one and continues scurrying after his original. The foot stepping into the mud of a riverbank denotes a full-grown clone, which impulse is verified by the identical replica peeping from behind Falvay, running in the reeds. (This sub-chapter can be interpreted as the scene of „duplication”). The hand held POVs give way to static WSs, and the scenery coated with lush greenery grows barren during the gallop of the twin-figures. The next big turning point takes place when the alpha character, after jumping from a hill, lies waiting in the desolate waste, until a few seconds later he faces the beta-character, who is unveiled by the confrontation. The meeting is followed by a clever means of making the mise en scéne visible: the flow-diagram showing the movement of the clone appears as interlacing pictures documenting the important stages.

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The multiplication of Falvay’s figure is the main theme of the film’s next chapter in which the original character slowly approaches the camera, walking along a frozen series of 2 dimensional photographs. Getting closer to the lens the director uses the method of foreshadowing and shows the change of technique with the fluctuation and clouding of the image. Falvay pulls off a transparent foil from the lens of the camera, clearing the background by sweeping off the chain of images of the multiplied figure of the clone. The now papier-mâché figures slip into Falvay’s palm, then into his pocket while Falvay himself continues walking towards the hillside until he leaves the viewer’s sight.

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If in referring to Balázs Varga’s above mentioned article we approve of the fact that „the principle of experimental film is the reflection […] the movement, the interrogation and the change”, then Falvay’s Run should obviously be categorized as a typical example of experimental cinema. One of the biggest merits of the film is that it  is capable of supporting a variety of possible interpretations and beyond reflecting onto various film techniques it also serves as an inspiration for less exact philosophical discussions.

Written by: Dorottya Szalay

 

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