Gabor Fabricius‘ debut feature follows punk rock singer Robert Frank (Benjamin Fuchs), who after getting arrested by the police for singing words that are too political, gets sent to the open ward of a psychiatric clinic. Angry at the state, he’ll stop at nothing to express his feelings, but freedom of speech doesn’t go without a fight.
Erasing Frank is set in a 1980’s oppressed and propaganda-ridden Hungary. Due to the lack of prospects of our protagonist, the film benefits from the achromatic cinematography, bathing in shades of black and white while the camera follows Frank’s every move. This makes for an often rebelliously disorienting but uniquely intimate, with barely any dialogue being used throughout, tale that flows with a steady pace.
Compared to how “free” he is, the constricted feeling of being shushed by state officials every time he even tries to hopelessly voice his distrust with the authoritarian government, quickly turns him angrier and into the arms of a girl he meets in the psychiatric institute. This connection makes for a nice shift in the story, and while the supporting cast is small but talented, Fuchs effortlessly carries the film, delivering a hauntingly composed performance.
By creating an almost apocalyptically dystopian world within our own, Fabricius is able to intrigue and impress with a strikingly ageless debut. Erasing Frank pushes Hungarian cinema to new exciting heights.
Reviewed on September 7, 2021 – La Biennale di Venezia (screener provided by publicist). Rating: TBC. Running time: 99 min.
PRODUCTION: An Otherside Stories production. Producers: Gábor Fabricius & Barna Tamás. Executive Producer: Melinda Szepesi.
CREW: Director/Writer: Gábor Fabricius. Editing: Wanda Kiss & Bernadett Tuza-Ritter. Cinematography: Tamás Dobos.
CAST: Benjamin Fuchs, Andrea Waskovics, Kincsö Blénesi, István Lénárt, András Pál, Zsolt Zayzon.