In this ongoing series, we profile the most interesting independent animation filmmakers working today — the artists who, through short films and other projects, change our ideas of what the medium can do.
This week’s subject is Hungarian animator Réka Bucsi, whose films have screened at the Berlinale, SXSW, Sundance, and Annecy.
In a phrase: Soft, sensual, and magical works that soothingly explore love, nature, and the universe.
Where to start: Love (2017) As you might well have guessed, being the sharp reader that you are, this is a film about love. Divided into three segments, Bucsi explores longing, love, and solitude via an assortment of creatures including a gentle giant, cats, a horse, and a sort of dinosaur creature. This calm, impressionistic work is pleasantly mystyfing and beautifully structured and designed. Bucsi’s world is so filled with love, curiosity and gentleness, that it’s enough to just sit back and feel the film. It’s a work about loving nature and others, but also savoring and appreciating the very nature of being.
What to watch next: Symphony no. 42 (2014) Bucsi’s debut film was shortlisted for the Oscars and instantly put her on the international animation map. A barrage of segments explores the often ridiculous relationships between humans, animals, and nature. Soothing and absurd, silly and soul expanding.
Other key works: Solar Walk (2018), Stories In Place: Plante (2020)
Influences: “Influences for me are mainly about an artistic attitude. A bit of mad perfectionism, dedication, and excitement for what they are doing. I’m inspired by all sorts of artists. Film directors such as Stanley Kubrick, Denis Villeneuve, Luca Guadagnino, Andrei Tarkovsky, all the people at ILM from when they started practical effects, inventing new ways of filmmaking, magical realism in general. I’m also influenced by basically everything Ray Bradbury wrote. I think that some of the most exciting stuff in 2d animation the past couple of years has come from the students at Gobelins, l’école de l’image. I don’t know what they put into their food in the cafeteria but I want it.”
Says: “My films rely on editing, movement, color, composition, and sound design. I’m mainly interested in unconventional storytelling and narrative. Animation is something that needs a lot of devotion and isn’t something you can ‘fake.’ You have to invest a lot of time learning the different aspects of it. I love the freedom animation offers, and the million decisions a filmmaker has to consider while putting together a film. Fifteen minutes of animation can take a year to make, so not loving what you do isn’t an option.”
Currently working on: “Right now I’m mainly working on developing my first feature film, called The Great Silence. I’m writing the script and drawing and animating concept art. So far there is no funding or producer involved, so I’m doing this between commissions.”
Pictured at top: Love