Szabolcs Hajdu is a Hungarian actor and director who is still best remembered for “White Palms” (Feher tenyer) from 2006, an exceptional drama about a Hungarian gymnast who defected to the West during communism. This time, Hajdu takes us to the present, and “Bekeido” or “A Treasure City” is one of those films where we have several seemingly unrelated stories that will somehow connect. And all these stories take place during one night in an unnamed city that is assumed to be Budapest (although the film was shot in Cluj, Romania). The story here begins rather disjointedly and for a while it seems as if “Bekeido” consists of unrelated vignettes, short stories of ten minutes that have no special connections except that they take place in the same city.
However, it will be shown that all these characters are at least minimally, subtly connected, and that the theme is quite dark is already clear to us in the introduction, in which Hajdu used a quote from the Austrian postmodernist Thomas Bernhard. Practically all the characters have in common that they are somewhat bitter, angry, dissatisfied with themselves and the life situation in which they find themselves, and that they try to vent their frustrations on someone else, usually those closest to them. It all seems somehow strange and bizarre, somewhat in the footsteps of Roy Andersson or Aki Kaurismäki, but with the exception of the humor, even the black, bitter one. It’s all the darker because the action takes place during the night, and almost all stories begin with some seemingly banal arguments and conflicts that hide some deeper roots and motives.
So in the first segment we have two girls where one accuses the other of being a pathological liar, and then we go back a few hours. A woman with her daughter enters a flower shop and fights with the saleswoman there because of complete banality. A husband and wife fight at dinner because of a rebellious punk son (who listens to No Means No, well done young man!) who enjoys provoking his exasperated father, a group of activists protest in front of the government building, and some cultural figures have a party in the apartment where a famous a director with some ulterior motives. There is also a bizarre taxi driver who looks like Kid Rock, and the atmosphere is uneasy from the beginning, warning and it is clear to us that nothing can end well here. Although this dark, depressing drama had a lot of promise in the beginning, it didn’t quite pan out the way I had hoped.