Interview with Directors Zsuzsanna Kreif and Borbala Zétényi - Clermont-Ferrand film festival
Friday 6 February 2015, by
Limbo Limbo Travel is a trip to a realm of fantasies. Where did the inspiration come from?
Z: The first idea for the film came after I’d seen an ad in a newspaper for a bus trip to Cuba, offered for women only. Then I imagined these huge women hunting for small men in an exotic environment. The Scandinavian aspect of the the beginning of the film came from spending 5 months in Finland, in the middle of huge snow piles. When I returned to Budapest, I asked Bori if she’d like to work with me on this film plan with crazy women going wild for men, she said yes, and we started limboing.
Can you tell us more about the power of "mustache men"?
B+Z: The power of “mustache men” lies in their innocence, their unconcealed emotions, and in the fact that they and their actions can be easy to understand. Their lives are untouched by the effects of the civilised, western world, living in complete isolation from it. Their own civilisation was built on entirely different values and according to very different principles, such as brotherhood, and deep care for each other (and their mother). These, in contrast with the always busy men in the women’s original city, lure the women into wanting to discover the island and the men – even if this may be hazardous to them.
Limbo Limbo Travel’s opening sequence shows a hyper-connected society that seems to impact human relationships. Do you think the Internet, smartphones and new technologies enhance the feeling of loneliness?
B: They do have the potential to keep you busy and occupied all day, of course, but so do a lot of other things. I believe that condemning smartphones and the Internet, as if they were the sole factors contributing to worsening human relationships, growing loneliness and communication problems between people is hypocritical.
In Limbo Limbo Travel, the female characters, with their desires, their fears of loneliness, their personal qualities and their convictions in intimate relationships, are probed for and tormented in a humorous way. Why did you choose humour in storytelling?
B+Z: As neither of us are uptight or even conventionally dramatic, we tried to view this matter from a different perspective. Both of us prefer making people laugh and have fun while we tell our story, as I believe it is harder to make people truly laugh than to make them cry. In this case, it’s also important to note that every single woman represents one special characteristic, exaggerated to the extreme, to be found in everyone. By making fun of these exaggerated traits, we make fun of ourselves, too, as well as practically everyone, since we all have these things in ourselves.
You are two people working as a team, how do you share the work?
Z: We are lucky, that somehow we could share each step of the filmmaking process. In the beginning we spent a lot of time drawing and writing in sketchbooks everything that came to our minds, and creating a visual world, that was convenient to use for both of us. I think the most important part of working together was that we could inspire each other and make laugh each other during the whole 3 and a half years of making the film.
Is Limbo Limbo Travel a first film? Do you have plans for future films, long or short? Together?
Z: Yes, Limbo Limbo Travel is the first film for both of us. Now I work as director on the first episode of an animated TV series based on Candide, but rethought freely. In the future, even if we start working on separate projects, we would always discuss things, ask each other’s opinion.
B: Yes, Limbo Limbo Travel indeed is a first film. Although we work together at the moment, too, it is not on our own project. We do have some plans to make another film together in the future, however, we have not decided on any details yet.
Will you stick to animation or do you want to work with actors?
B: Personally, I feel way more comfortable sticking to animation and I don’t think I would like to direct live-action movies. Of course, this may change in the future, but my primary world is animation and it will always be.
Z: Same for me, I was more comfortable drawing 100 naked men than directing them live.
Does the language spoken in Limbo Limbo Travel exist or is it completely fictional?
It’s complete fiction. :)
To conclude, Limbo Limbo Travel has been produced in France. According to you, what does French production bring to short film that no other would?
B: It was a great experience for us working in co-production on our first film. Not only did this give us a different perspective to look at things and therefore allowed us to rethink our ideas several times, the two French studios also provided exceptional levels of craftsmanship and proficiency.