Sunday, April 22, 2012

On the Spot

Once upon a time - tale for adults next! - two young university students took a camera and went to make an interview with Wim Wenders, a huge German film director in Berlin. The work was such a succes that the three of us spent half day together with having lunch, walking, making kind of a sightseeing and talk to each other instead of an hour or something. The cooperation of Cseke Eszter and S. Takács Andris seemed more than living up to expectations, so the next time they took two cameras and went to the Gaza Strip... Then to the Artic Circle, Izrael, Etiopy, Bolivia, Sri Lanka, Afganistan, South Africa, Nepal, Burma, Mauritania, India, Iran, Egypt, Japan, French (French Foreign Legion) and New York. They run a documentary TV show On the Spot with about 50 minutes epidosodes/films, and now they are working on its third season among African tribes. What they do in each spot is getting into contact with local people, talking them, trying to know and understand their life, and through these lifes the culture with the old and living traditions of the place they live in. 

Last week I went to a kind of interactive lecture, a public event arranged by Forum Corvinum, a student organisation at Corvinus University, which was about Eszter and Andris (after they returned home from West Africa) and their work and life in usual. Unfortunately I can only welcome Forum Corvinum but would not recommend it here because of the Hungarian language they work - but On the Spot can be reachable with English subtitles:) 

Eszter and Andris looked really pleasant in live too, they were funny and talkative and shared lots of nice and interesting stories with the audience. They definitely take their work serious while being on the exact place they are shooting means them being and acting like normal, open-minded and more like friendly than earn. Well, try not be nice when you are a pretty girl in the wild wild ghetto of Johannesburg wants to get gangsta bros and drug stories. Or try to be demanding while you are a white european boy participating in a kind of stick fight totally naked with an african tribesban who’ve probably killed someone already before. You are not acting like a reporter when some fresh n yummy cattle blood is offered for you, when someone at the end of the world names her daughter after you, when a gonna be 100 kg (2200 pounds) girl tells you how she hates to vomit after 3 liter (13 cups) of goat milk, when a woman in Japan shows you where her house stood before the earthquake and tsunami and so on. 

And this is why On the Spot is different from the usual documentary films. Eszter and Andris always travel alone with two little cameras, and like half-antropolgists, they always get closely connected to people trying to raise the distance between the reporter and the subject. And this drive them and us, the viewers to the revelation that things in different cultures that look somehow through the curious cameras wanted to make huge highlighted stories are often not the same you see with your own eyes, trying to be less formal.

Did you know that the Palestinian terrorist only act like they are fighting and give the reporters a nice show by request? No life threatening in the pits at all. Did you know that there is this ethnic group named "cannibal tribe" that does absolutely not eat human flesh today? Moreover they only dressed down and live their days naked while it’s time to shoot with the "white people", who want them to be like that.

In my opinion Eszter and Andris are really on the spot. Down-to-earth.


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