László Rajk

Cheating with the perspective

László Rajk is a practicing architect, a production designer and a professor at SZFE in Budapest, also known as a former dissident and a human rights activist. Since 1972, he has worked as a production designer on several Hungarian and international projects, including The Man from London, The Turin Horse, Mirage, Son of Saul, as well as Ridley Scott´s The Martian, which was shot in Hungary recently. 

He graduated from Budapest Technical University with a Diploma in Architecture in 1972. As an architect and a freelance artist he became a member of the Hungarian avant-garde movement in the '70s. At the same time, he started to work in production design, too.

Rajk believes that every architect should design film sets, firstly, because you get your feedback faster and, secondly, because: “You learn how to cheat with perspectives, with lines, which is very important. Architects never talk about it”. This is the aim he is trying to reach with his students at SZFE, where he teaches film architecture.

"I think all architects should design sets. A set can be done in three months and it pushes back the ego of architects who think this is my thing and no one should ever touch it. It's this provisional temporary architecture, and however good it is, it eventually is taken apart and stays only virtually in pictures. Plus, you learn a lot of tricks in production design, like how to cheat. That is very important when you think about perspective."

Rajk´s artistic portfolio is overflowing with striking and unconventionally built architectural projects and more than 50 film sets that he created as a production designer or an art director. He was the production designer of Béla Tarr's last two movies (The Man from London, The Turin Horse) and did the design for the very first short film of László Nemes (With a Little Patience), as well Nemes´s last film – Son of Saul. Rajk has worked with directors such as Miklós Jancsó, Szabolcs Hajdu, Márta Mészáros, Péter Gothár, Costa Gavras, John Irvin, Fatih Akin, Joseph Sargent, Vittorio Storaro and Ridley Scott. This is what he said about his international collaborations: “A lot of producers are coming to Hungary to look at who you're working with. The younger generation already searches on the net. This opening up represents a major change in the well-integrated working environment.”

An interview with Laszló Rajk about the Son of Saul, nominated for Oscar 2016 Foreign Language Film, you can find here: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/miranda/la-et-cam-son-of-saul-architect-laszlo-rajk-20160129-column.html

There will be a special 2-day long lecture with László Rajk entitled “Virtual or real? - The questions of film architecture nowadays” for limited number of places. So don't forget to get your accreditation as soon as possible here! The lecture will be held at VFF 2016 on April 5-6, 2016.