Pelikan Blue Hot Docs 2024
An incredibly entertaining animated recreation of this 1990s Hungarian ticket forgery operation.

Pelikan Blue

Runtime: 01:19
In 1990s Hungary, travel is finally possible but unaffordable. By forging international train tickets, three young men provide the opportunity for a whole generation to experience the outside world.

Table of Contents

Animated reenactments are used to tell the story of a train ticket forgery operation in 1990s Budapest in . Ákos (), Petya (), and Laci () are three friends in 1990s Budapest, who share a common goal of wanting to travel, despite being unable to afford the expensive train tickets. The three figure out how to bleach and forge the tickets to travel to any European destination they desire. When word gets out, the friends enlist the help of Rozi () to create a large-scale forgery operation.

Pelikan Blue Synopsis

Pelikan Blue is a hybrid of documentary and animated reenactments, with the occasional Super-8 shot live-action cutaway, written and directed by László Csáki, based on 40 hours of interviews with forgers, travellers, police, and railway employees recorded between 2011 and 2021. These interviews form the basis for what is essentially a fictionalized recreation of the events. The key element of this forgery operation is the titular Pelikan Blue brand of carbon paper, which was the only colour able to be erased with a concentration of Domestos brand bleach.

My Thoughts on Pelikan Blue

Originally intended to be a fictionalized narrative film Pelikan Blue greatly benefits from the use of archival interviews, from which the story is built. The use of animation allows the film to play with genre, such as a horror movie sequence involving the highly suspicious ticket inspector nicknamed “The Clown.” Altogether, Pelikan Blue is an incredibly entertaining depiction of this 1990s ticket forgery operation.

Trailer for Pelikan Blue

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.