Independent Films, Trailers
Gabor Farkas is a conman by profession. He ensnares plain-looking, lonely women with acts of love and then cheats them out of their savings. One day he becomes tired of his small-time swindles and craves a real challenge. He meets Hanna, a rich and beautiful ballerina who is trying to return to the stage after an absence from it caused by an accident. Gabor has to use every trick up his sleeve in order to make the girl take him seriously: he acquires a luxury apartment, a sports car, a medical degree and even an entire hospital to impress her. But his lies are so complicated that he gets entangled in his own ropes and in the end is no longer even sure what he wants to achieve.
Transcripts / Production notes / Scripts
CHAMELEON explores the subject of compulsive lying. Those who suffer from it feel an irrepressible desire to become something more than what they are. Gábor, a bright, talented young man, was brought up in an orphanage. By lying, he invents a better past for himself in order to create a better future. He longs for a privileged life with all its luxuries: fancy clothes, good cars, expensive homes and most of all, the feeling of belonging to a different class.
Is he responsible or is society to blame? CHAMELEON is a suspenseful psychological drama that explores the intense pressure to become successful in today’s society.
Krisztina Goda – Director
A graduate of the British National Film and Television School where she studied film direction, Ms. Goda also graduated from the screenwriting program at UCLA's Film School. She has directed several award winning short films, as well as a documentary and television commercials. On stage she directed David Auburn’s, "Proof," at the Merlin Theatre in Budapest.
Her feature film debut, JUST SEX AND NOTHING ELSE (2005), was a major success. Subsequently she went on to direct Hollywood mogul Andy G. Vajna’s internationally respected film about the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, CHILDREN OF GLORY (2006). Goda’s third feature film, CHAMELEON (2008), has had a great local and international reception. The film is in competition at the Shanghai International Film Festival - Official Selection and is an official selection at the Moscow International Film Festival.
Gábor Kálomista – Producer
Variety has billed Kálomista as the "hit magician" of Hungarian cinema. He is the most productive producer in his country. In the last 12 years he has produced more than 20 films, all of which have consistently attracted large audiences, including the award-winning BLIND GUYS (2001), JUST SEX AND NOTHING ELSE (2005), YOUNG DUMB AND FULL OF LOVE (2006), NOSEDIVE (2007) and IMMIGRANTS – L.A. DOLCE VITA (2008). In the last 12 years in Hungary alone his movies have been seen by 4.5 million viewers and have been acknowledged by numerous international festivals. (Berlinale, Moscow IFF, Houston IFF, Shanghai IFF, etc.) Kálomista is the President of the Hungarian Producers Association.
By Mike Goodridge
Already selected as Hungary’s submission for the foreign language Oscar this year, Chameleon is an entertaining thriller with western-style production polish, a plot which offers its fair share of surprises, and an impressive lead performance from Ervin Nagy.
Directed with confidence by Krisztina Goda, who is fast becoming her country’s most consistent commercial director (Just Sex And Nothing Else, Children Of Glory), the film was a hit when it opened in Hungary in December last year.
Chameleon should have some international sales value, especially with the Oscar bid in place, although arthouse distributors are often slow to embrace mainstream local films like this without the guaranteed backing of highbrow critics. Chameleon – unlike recent Hungarian exports Kontroll or Taxidermia – is almost too slick a product, yet bigger independents may also balk at its subtitles. A sale for remake rights seems a natural.
Nagy plays a tall, handsome twentysomething called Gabor who runs a cruel scam with his old orphanage buddy Tibi (Trill). The two work as office cleaners and identify single women from their rubbish; Gabor then seduces them and swindles them out of their savings. The friends are trying to save up to buy a house which, as orphans, they believe is the key to security.
Anxious to make a big money score, the two take on cleaning jobs at the offices of a celebrity analyst. There they target a ballerina called Hanna (Hamori), daughter of a millionaire tycoon, who is trying to overcome a knee injury. Gabor pretends to be a wealthy paediatrician, inveigles his way into her life and spots an opportunity when she says she wants to have expensive knee surgery with a pioneering doctor (Kulka). He thinks that he can walk away with the $100,000 fee, but the con is more complicated than he imagined. Goda hits the right tone in the film, neither too playful nor too dark. She makes clear that Gabor is an unsavoury character, yet he is never entirely repellent to the audience, and the director leads us to believe that he is on some kind of redemptive journey before hitting us with a final twist which puts him firmly in his place. There are a few clumsy plot points, but Nagy’s striking central performance just about carries the drama through its rocky patches. A successful TV and theatre actor, he has enough brooding charm to convince us that women would fall for his act and hints at a turbulent inner life of insecurity, aspiration and desperation for love.
Chameleon is set in a glossy 2008 Budapest of lavish parties, ballet openings, swanky apartments and fast cars, far from the poverty central to recent Hungarian festival favourites such as Iska’s Journey or Fresh Air.
Year of Production: 2008
- Krisztina Goda
- Gabor Kalomista
- Ervin NAGY Gabriella HAMORI Sandor CSANYI Janos KULKA
Osaka European FF
Palm Springs IFF
Miami Women's IFF