Erasing Frank (2021) Venice – Settimana della Critica

September 6th, 2021
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir.: Gabor Fabricius; Cast: Benjamin Fuchs, Kinscö Blénesi, Ildicó Bánsági, Andrea Ládanyi; Hungary 2021, 98 min.

In Stalinist Hungary during the early 1980s a troubled punk musician is sent to a psychiatric ward where he struggles against the regime’s authoritarianism alongside patients with more serious  mental health problems. Stunningly captured in black and white by Tamás Dobos, first time director Gabor Fabricius goes for an Orwellian atmosphere showing Frank’s descent into a nightmarish vision of a system hellbent on destroying any kind of creativity, seen entirely from Frank’s POV. This is a fuzzy journey into darkness where we meet a series of periphery characters whose place in Frank’s universe never becomes entirely clear: his unnamed partner and another inmate he befriends. The aesthetics certainly carry the film, but the lack of narrative structure reduces the impact on our ability to engage with Frank and his tortured world. Erasing Frank is nonetheless a visceral visual poem portraying the misuse of psychiatry in all Stalinist countries from WWII until 1989 in one of the darkest chapters in history.


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