Director/Writer: Kristof Deák | Producer:Anna Udvardy | DOP:Róbert Maly | Composer: Adam Balázs | Cast: Zsófia Szamos, Dorottya Hais and Dorka Gáspárfalvi
Sing is a beautiful dance between indie cinema realism and feel-good Hollywood charm that is hard to capture in any feature let alone a short film. This Hungarian language film is shortlisted for an Academy Award and it’s clear to see why.
Set in the suburbs of a Hungarian town, Sing follows Zsofi (Dorka Gáspárfalvi) a girl overcoming one of the scariest challenges of any child’s life – starting a new school. As a keen singer, Zsofi immediately seeks consolation in the award-winning school choir led by adored and sharp-eared choir teacher, Ms Erika (Zsófia Szamos).
It’s a winning move; through the choir Zsofi befriends popular girl Liza (Dorottya Hais) and soon enough the girls solidifying their best friend status by swapping compliments and possessions… like wrist bands. All is going well until the news of an impending national choir competition peels back the cheery veil that hides a sinister conclusion to the school choirs success.
Sing boldly shows us how children see the world and more importantly their understanding but by no means less powerful reaction towards injustice in the face of adult imposed ambition and corruption – and it does so in the most beautiful and natural way.
What we don’t get but what the audience may initially expect – having been bombarded with stories of playground exclusion or, more recently, the increasingly depressing cases of cyber bullying is a story that pits children against each other. This is a story that champions the youth and exposes the loss of innocence in adulthood. Sing is also a story of friendship, female friendship at that and the powerful loyalties between children seldom seen without the interception of an adult presence.
Based on a true story, Director Kristof Deák has already received critical and audience praise for this award-winning and Oscar shortlisted short film*; It’s deserving in every way. Sing is an exemplar production that effortlessly merges a well-written heartfelt script with a well-directed, stunning young cast and finishes it off with wonderfully autumnal toned photography. The music is superb – in particular the song sung by the children in the hopeful beginnings and during the tumultuous climax of the film, is defiant and uplifting – fitting for this young bunch of steadfast young liberators.
Sing falls in the category of a feel good film. Better than some contrived political dramas seen on the big screen today this film undoubtedly displays so passionately and concisely the solidarity between the voiceless and disenfranchised – and what better example of an undermined demographic than children.
*The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that 10 live action short films will advance in the voting process for the 89th Academy Awards. One hundred thirty-seven pictures had originally qualified in the category.
The 10 films are listed below in alphabetical order by title, with their production companies:
“Bon Voyage,” Marc Wilkins, director, and Joël Jent, producer (Dschoint Ventschr Filmproduction)
“Ennemis Intérieurs,” Sélim Azzazi, director (Qualia Films)
“Graffiti,” Lluis Quilez, director (Participant Media, Euphoria Productions and Ainur Films)
“La Femme et le TGV,” Timo von Gunten, director (arbel gmbh)
“Nocturne in Black,” Jimmy Keyrouz, director (Columbia University)
“The Rifle, the Jackal, the Wolf and the Boy,” Oualid Mouaness, director (Tricycle Logic)
“Silent Nights,” Aske Bang, director, and Kim Magnusson, producer (M & M Productions)
“Sing (Mindenki),” Kristof Deák, director (Meteor Filmstudio)
“Timecode,” Juanjo Giménez, director (Nadir Films)
“The Way of Tea (Les Frémissements du Thé),” Marc Fouchard, director, and Matthieu Devillers, producer (Existenz, BlackBox and P904)