Bubble Bath review in The Guardian
A fantastic review of Gyorgy Kovasznai's feature Bubble Bath was published by Phil Hoad in The Guardian on the occasion of the film's international release on MUBI: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2022/aug/22/bubble-bath-review-hallucinogenic-animated-musical-is-a-work-of-70s-genius
Bubble Bath review – hallucinogenic animated musical is a work of 70s genius Phil Hoad Mon 22 Aug 2022 13.00 BST This psychedelic Hungarian film from 1979 pulsates with crazed anxieties about modernity Directed by György Kovásznai, who died of leukaemia in 1983, Hungary’s third ever full-length animated feature is a true curio and a work of minor genius: a gallopingly neurotic modernist-psychedelic musical from 1979 that bubbles and pulsates with anxieties about modernity. It mostly takes place inside a single Budapest apartment, where medical student Anikó (voiced by Vera Venzcel, with Kati Bontovits singing) is suddenly visited by the walrus-moustached Zsolt (Kornél Gelley, with Albert Antalffy singing). He’s having a major wobbly – palpitations, handkerchief-dabbing, manic hoedown music and everything – about his impending marriage to Klári (Lenke Lorán, with Katalin Dobos singing), a society girl and Anikó’s best friend. Klári just wants babies, but would-be artist Zsolt and aspiring doctor Anikó start to bond over a more liberated idea of life.
With characters and settings constantly warping, tilting and transmogrifying, Bubble Bath is visually something special; like Van Gogh, Fleischer Studios, Robert Crumb, Yellow Submarine and the abstract-thought section of Pixar’s Inside Out smooshed into a great lysergic battenberg cake. Kovásznai also works in collaged photographic elements and rays of filtered light cast over the animation cells. Beginning with Anikó’s lounge-jazz effort about biological processes, all the characters – including her wheelchair-user aunt – get musical numbers by composer János Másik. Most rock hard, especially an avant-funk crooner from Zsolt on the subject of interior design that would do 70s Eno proud. This is not only an emotionally lucid film, but one that takes the pulse of 1970s Hungary with a sense of fun and clarifying abstraction. Anikó and Zsolt embody the individualist aspirations of a new consumerist society, and Klári – singing the praises of mod cons – is not immune. But, according to Kovásznai, biological imperatives are the opposing force: he inserts verité extracts of Hungarians discussing demographics and their family plans. It’s never too serious though: Zsolt, for some reason, winds up disguised as a frogman fending off Klári’s muscleman pal. The crazed energy is irresistible.
Bubble Bath is available on 24 August on Mubi.