Connect with us

Movie Reviews

Treasure City ★★★



Director: Szabolcs Hajdu

Cast: Orsolya Török-Illyés, Szabolcs Hajdu, Lilla Sárosdi

Released: 18th of May 2021

Like in a young child’s mind, the night reveals all the terror. Racists, pathological liars, sexual assaulters, cruel mothers and fathers lurk around the corner. Many of them might’ve interacted with each other for years “during the day”. However, only during the alluring long night, they feel like opening Pandora’s box. As expected, the evil spirits start coming out, but after taking another look, one sees that hope is absent.

Through numerous stories set at night, Treasure City manifests the evil side of relationships. A woman attempts to uncover her friend’s constant lying; the latter continues to deceive the woman even though she admits to lying all the time. After an exasperating conversation with a florist, another woman loses her temper, revealing the florist’s racist attitudes. A mother and a father argue over their son’s parenting; it ends in a violent episode…

The film’s director Szabolcs Hajdu abstains from the conventional shot/countershot to capture dialogue-heavy scenes. Instead, he coalesces long takes with relatively abruptly-cut editing to create the feeling of arriving somewhere wicked without knowing why. This technique swimmingly increases one’s excitement about each new story; however, the lacking interconnectedness between the plotlines renders viewers drowsy. What melds the stories together is the “dark” city, and that’s hardly enough to get a tight grip on the narrative. Occasionally, Hajdu adds characters from one storyline to another, but that’s as wooden an attempt at verisimilitude as the characters’ pawn aroma.

Treasure City implies that the city is “dark” due to the predominantly conservative thinking and what one thinks it allows—you “can” manipulate women to have sex, you “can” deceive people for attention, you “can” impose all your values on your children, etc. And the highlight is the cleverly executed male-female at-home dynamic. A woman reveals she’s cheated on her husband—with a significantly younger man; another conservative taboo—and impassive, he hits her. Their marriage hasn’t worked for years, they’re intimate once in a blue moon, and the calm tone of their conversation reveals that her infidelity doesn’t bother him. However, owing to “traditional” practises, he “has to” hit her. Until this conservative thinking isn’t tweaked, the film asserts, society will never change. It will always revolve around its problems hopelessly.

Despite failing to conceive a believable story, the film adroitly nurtures its anti-conservative leitmotif until it blossoms into a poetised dead-end for the coming generations. An imploration to sever ties with detrimental traditions.

Just For You