An interview with director of Coming Out, Dénes Orosz, screened at the Hungarian Film Festival of Los Angeles 2014


Coming Out  directed by Dénes Orosz is one of the films participating in Hungarian Film Festival of Los Angeles 2014.

What do you do when you find you’re not the man you thought you were? This is the story of Hungary’s most famous gay celebrity who openly admits his homosexuality and fights for gay rights in a society where so many alternative values are denied. But then something happens and he is shocked to discover his growing interest in the female of the species. Coming Out is a daring romantic comedy that examines the question of otherness in a unique way.

Bijan Tehrani: How did you come up with the story of Coming Out and what motivated you to make this film?
Dénes Orosz: One of my friends told me a hilarious story from his life and that inspired me. I thought it would be very funny to show the reverse of a regular coming out story. I was motivated by the belief of trusting in the braveness and originality of the idea. And I deeply believed that in Hungary it is absolutely necessary to talk about being different because it could help to increase the tolerance in the viewers.     

BT:  At the first glance Coming Out has an unusual story that is not exactly politically correct, one can think it may raise questions about motivation of the film in gay community, but then of course the bigger picture about identity answers those concerns. Did you encounter any issues or expected any?
DO: Before the premiere the Hungarian gay community expressed its fear about the film’s message. They thought the movie suggests that every gay can be „cured” by a hit to their heads. It’s not true of course. So Coming Out is not about that. My film’s message is simple: in all circumstances be who you are. After the premiere many gay people from the audience told me they are relieved. So they understood the message: that this movie is against homophobia.

BT:  Coming Out follows the rules of a romantic comedy, unusual situation creating turning points (in this case an accident), ups and downs in relationship and a happy ending. But Coming Out goes beyond that and I think it helps people that are opposing gay rights and never want to watch a film about gays, to watch this film and have a better understanding about the matter. Did you do this intentionally?
DO: It was absolutely conscious. And I’d like to emphasize: the reason what changes the character is not the accident. For a while he thinks it is but he’s wrong. The real cause of his change is that he is too sure in himself. The change happens because of a magic twist.

BT:  Extreme right groups are growing in Europe in recent years and they are looking for legally or by violence put a stop to the gay rights. Do you think Coming Out could help to ease the situation?
DO: You know I don’t have illusions. One film cannot change everything. Let’s say someone who doesn’t like gay people sees my film. If he is enjoying the comedy and he feels that he sympathizes with gay characters it’s already a huge step toward acceptance.   

BT: Those in straight or gay communities are always polarizing the gay and straight division and do not want to admit that there are gray areas, do you think Coming Out addresses this problem? 
DO: Yes, because I show a man who becomes different among the different. It’s not quiet black or white, isn’t it?
BT:  How did you go about casting of your film and how did you work with your actors?
DO: My point was to make the main characters loveable. Sandor Csanyi in the leading role is exactly this kind of actor. And Gabor Karalyos who plays his partner is also that type. We made a lot of rehearsals together because this type of comedy where the rhythm of humor is very important requires that in my opinion.

BT:  How did you come up with visual style of your film?
DO: We discussed the visual style of Coming Out properly with my close friend Adam Fillenz who was the cinematographer of the film. We agreed from the beginning that in a picture what is about being different, and what requires open mind we have to use the cinemascope aspect ratio. We also decided that the world of the film should be very colorful because of the subject. There are many hidden messages in the movie what are communicated only through visual solutions. And of course the slow motion shots are also an important part of the visual concept. 

BT:  Do you think the Hungarian Film Festival of Los Angeles can help Hungarian film industry to have a better chance in US market?
DO: I hope so. And I’m very curious how the American audience will react to this comedy. If they will laugh we already achieved our goal. 

BT:  Please tell us about your next project.
DO: I’d really like to but I’m afraid I’m too superstitious to talk about it. But I hope people will be able to see it here in the United States as well.


About Author

Bijan Tehrani

Bijan Tehrani a film director, film critic and writer, works as editor in chief of Cinema Without Borders while teaching Language of Film and Film History at workshops nationwide. Bijan has won several awards in international film festivals and book fairs for his short films and children's books.

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