Zero: Revolt against the consumer society
by Fabien Lemercier
- The second feature by Gyula Nemes, who rose to fame at Venice in 2006, is finally ready, and its subject matter will certainly not fail to spark major controversy
Having got his big break in the Venice Critics’ Week in 2006 with his debut fiction feature, My One and Onlies, then going on to win the Best Documentary Award at Karlovy Vary in 2008 with Lost World, young Hungarian director Gyula Nemes has finally put the finishing touches to his second fiction feature, Zero, which is now a candidate for the upcoming festival application deadlines. The premiere of this movie is likely to be very eagerly awaited, as its subject matter could very well trigger some heated debates in Hungary and beyond. If you were in any doubt, you just need to read the detailed synopsis of the screenplay written by Tamas Beregi and the director himself.
Zero [+see also:
film profile] revolves around N (Krisztián Kovács), the manager of a factory that manufactures artificial honey. One day, after an accident caused by a bee, he gets to taste real honey, which completely transforms his life: he quits the factory, moves out to the forest and becomes a proper beekeeper. But his bees start dying as a result of the waves emitted by a nearby mobile phone mast. N undertakes a legal battle to save the bees, but he loses his case and is forced to leave his farm with L (Martina Krátká), whom he is in love with (and who is also the daughter of the manager of the mobile phone company, played by Udo Kier). And so the duo begins to launch an attack on everything that poses a threat to the bees (GM farming, factories, motorways and so on), and they set about “hacking” the mass media. N and L rapidly become celebrities and have the police on their tail; their acts become increasingly ambitious and radical, coming to a head when they start taking economic leaders hostage, whom they hand over in exchange for the authorities cutting off electricity, gas, oil, mobile phones and the internet. But then come the executions of slaughterhouse workers, the murders of bankers, and the massacring of consumers in shopping centres, until their guerrilla group is crushed by an invasion by NATO troops. But their struggle spreads like wildfire, soon transforming into a revolution across the entire country. L and her father then found a new regime that brings back electricity, which is met with widespread satisfaction, while the betrayed N flees to Africa. There, he sets off in search of a lost paradise of bees that he has heard people speak about. On the brink of starvation, he treks across the desert, in a new land, when...
This story, which easily gives a glimpse into the movie’s potential to stir up controversy (the film has apparently already been subjected to certain pressures), was filmed virtually without any dialogue, using only the buzzing of the bees and the sound of the TV commentaries. Produced by the director for Playtime, Zero is co-produced by Hungarian outfit Katapultfilm, Czech company Endorfilm and Germany’s 42 Film. International sales are still being negotiated.
(Translated from French)