Free Entry: leaping the fence of youth
by David González
- Yvonne Kerékgyártó’s trip to a festival together with two teenage girls was awarded the Cineuropa Prize at Cinema City in Novi Sad
Betty is a young girl whose father still taxis her back and forth in his car, asking her why she has done her hair in such a strange way and what she’s going to get up to with her friends. “V” is her best friend, with fewer inhibitions and worries in her life, sporting a more outlandish hairstyle, and with no responsible adults around her. Betty and V are getting ready to set off on an adventure together: that of gate-crashing the biggest music festival they have ever been to and experiencing everything it can offer from the inside: fun, sex, drugs, excitement, disappointment, danger, responsibilities… And if that’s not what being an adult is all about – well, at least it’s kind of similar.
Betty and V are the two main characters in Free Entry (One Day of Betty) [+see also:
interview: Yvonne Kerékgyártó
film profile], the feature debut by young Hungarian director Yvonne Kerékgyártó (see the interview), which after being presented at the goEast Film Festival in Wiesbaden, took home the Cineuropa Prize at the Cinema City International Film Festival in Novi Sad. Kerékgyártó’s idea is to follow the two youngsters around from the moment they gate-crash the Sziget Festival, which every year brings together thousands of young people on an island in Budapest, until the point when their own footsteps take them down other paths that perhaps not even they had expected to tread. The naturalness with which Betty and V’s (Luca Pusztai and Ágnes Barta, both non-professional actresses) day is depicted allows the viewer to identify with both of their gazes, wandering around an experience that most people will be familiar with. A difference of opinion on drugs and boys, a separation in the middle of the night, a splitting of their paths, a first encounter with a boy and an unexpected vision of what goes on in the family: these are all small things that happen in the festival and that, without them realising, force the two young girls to face up to their own lives.
Music by groups like Quimby and Die Antwoord set the pace for the scenes of colourful exuberance (akin to Spring Breakers by Harmony Korine) as well as for the characters’ down time (during which the camera follows just behind them, subconsciously emulating cinéma vérité). Kerékgyártó literally gate-crashes the Hungarian festival (which is a fundamental part of the film, at times appearing to almost be advertised by it) with a very small crew and an almost non-existent budget. The refreshing, humble and heartfelt closeness with which we follow the footsteps of Betty and V inside the festival lends Free Entry an essence that is not perfect, but is certainly young, full of life and, ultimately, special.
(Translated from Spanish)