What does freedom look like when it finally arrives? How do people respond to it as its liberating effects rain on them? Conventional fears may melt away, replaced by a surge of audacious hope. A desire for recklessness springs, embedded in it a thirst for adventure and joy that no longer can be pinned down. One becomes rambunctious and lively in one’s pursuit of thrill and ecstasy. Circumscribing limitations start wavering, supplanted by an eye that wanders in search of fresh, blazing possibilities that may freely transgress if it ensures a sliver of happiness. New horizons flash through.

László Csáki’s film “Pelikan Blue” captures that vivid, iridescent gleam of newness and how people, who have long been put in knots, begin to envisage scope for breaking out of the boundations that had defined and stowed their lives away in rigid, stiff configurations. The film is a transcendent, dreamy exploration of stolen chances. These chances the characters take are fraught with risk and peril. But taking them up is essential to staying sane and holding on to a likeness of pure discovery and liberty to do whatever their hearts please.

The film opens with the abolition of the communist regime in Hungary in 1989. With this advent of independence, the country opens up to a vibrant, bustling thrust of exploration and wants to venture beyond limits. In the post-Soviet world, such limits no longer hold any currency and weight in the minds of the citizens, who feel empowered and driven to tread uncharted waters and journey out into the unknown to embrace all that it holds.

Nothing can hold them back any longer. Drawing from real-life events, the film circles the escapades of three youngsters, Akos, Petya, and Laci. They are these unstoppably vigorous, enthusiastic friends, threaded together by a common spirit of heedless exploration. As the borders are relaxed, they want to step out and see more of the world. What had been previously proscribed is now possible. The only caveat? One would need a lot of money to actualize the trip. Naturally, the three aren’t blessed with abundant fortunes to translate their dreams of traveling to all sorts of fancy, foreign places into reality.

Pelikan Blue (2024) ‘Annecy’ Movie Review
A still from “Pelikan Blue” (2024)

However, they have the resourcefulness and intelligence to imagine and conceive of alternatives. Since the tickets are handwritten, the prospect of forging them looms as a doable probability. All they do is bleach out the peculiar type of blue carbon paper and fix up duplicate stamps. Initially, on the first trip they travel with the fake tickets, they are tremendously fearful they may get apprehended. Once they don’t arouse any suspicion and gain a clean pass, their brashness compounds, and the frequency of their travel exponentially rises. They feel they are capable of anything now that they have cracked a way to drum out fake tickets.

Soon, however, word spreads of the trio’s abilities, and they are solicited to arrange fake tickets for people who cannot afford them. It turns into a flourishing undercover business venture. Irrepressibly, attention of all kinds pivots to these facilitators as the extent of their efforts becomes increasingly well-known. “Pelikan Blue” swivels among a panoply of perspectives, cutting from that of the friends to those seeking their service to those on the vigil, including the railway and police officers.

Csáki also incorporates live-action inserts, rupturing the animation with a constant undertow of the documentary, as if to insist none of these are fanciful recreations but instead very much interwoven with the past and real happenings. There’s a delightful, rough-scrabble aspect to the film, which endows it with volatility. Moments of horror, paranoia, and uncertainty are folded into “Pelikan Blue,” but ultimately, it retains a joyous, expansive idea of freedom and dreaming that doesn’t meet the fate of a punishment.

Pelikan Blue screened at the Annecy Film Festival 2024.

Pelikan Blue (2024) Movie Link: IMDb

Similar Posts