White Plastic Sky (2023) Berlinale 2023

February 17th, 2023
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir.: Tibor Banoczki, Sarolta Szabo; Animation feature with the voices of Tamas Keresztes, Zsofia Szamosi, Judith schell, Zsolt Nagy; Hungary/Slovakia 2022, 110 min.

Hungarian animator directors/writers Tibor Banoczki and Sarolta Szabo have had great success with their short films like Leftovers, which were shown all over the festival circuit. White Plastic Sky is their first feature length animation film, an imaginative sci-fi animation showcasing their talent.

White Plastic Sky is a haunting dystopian parable, in the same vein as cult classic Solyent Green and Elysium, it unfolds in mixture of 2D and 3D, and an effective roto-scaping technique that allows the animators to trace and create animation frames via life-action footage.

In Budapest in 2123 people are paying a high price for their survival: the sky is a dome covering the city, and certain death follows within three days of leaving the zone due to a shortage of food and oxygen. If they make it to the age of fifty an enforced implant recycles them into oxygen and food for the remaining population. The gruesome process is euphemistically called “serving the city”.

28 year old Stefan (Keresztes) a psychiatrist, and his musician wife Nora (Szamosi), are mourning the death of their son Tomi and their marriage is in trouble. On impulse, Nora decides to gift herself to “the city”. Stefan is shocked, and tries to talk her out of it, but she is adamant. Some of his friends in the administration department, give him access to the plant where he pretends to interview the technical crew.

An enigmatic doctor (Schell), who is only a few weeks away from her fiftieth birthday, helps him to get hold of Nora who is not yet affected by the implanted branch. The three of them set out to visit an elderly professor, now in his eighties, in a part of the country where the security services have no access. On the journey they are attacked by soldiers and Nora and Stefan are left alone to find the man who is able to remove the branch from Nora’s body. But can the couple trust a man who has condemned his own daughter and her husband to serve humankind?

Technological progress has certainly been made with driverless cars and other new-fangled vehicles speeding through the city, creating a bogus impression of progress, but outside is a barren landscape of desolate countryside and uninhabited cities, and the human element seemed to have regressed to the Dark Ages. White Plastic Sky is original and stunning in its form and content, painting a menacing view of a future where man is no longer a sentient form of life, despite so-called progress. AS


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