Márta, a forty-year-old neurosurgeon, falls in love. She leaves her shining American career behind and returns to Budapest to start a new life with the man. But the love of her life claims they have never met before.
It’s been a while since I’ve watched a film that’s left me confused throughout (it helps that David Lynch hasn’t made a new film for years!) but along comes ‘Preparations to be Together for an Unknown Period of Time’. Unwieldy title aside, this Hungarian movie centres on doctor Vizy Márta (Natasa Stork), who returns home to Budapest after spending some time working in the United States. During her time in the States she met and had a romantic experience with Drexler János (Viktor Bodó), another Hungarian doctor at a conference, however when meeting him back in Hungary, he claims to have never met her before. Is Vizy losing her mind or is something else at play – that’s the premise that this psychological drama will explore over the course of its runtime.
The film is very reminiscent of the works of Krzysztof Kieślowski, the Polish director best known for the ‘Three Colours’ trilogy, a series of moody, atmospheric films that have influenced a lot of European cinema. On that point this film works well, drawing you into the setting and crafting a sombre mood that alongside Stork’s performance had me invested in the journey her character goes on. Where I was less invested and where my confusion arose was with the narrative itself and how the mysteries start to unfold – perhaps I’d missed something earlier on but I thought the way it concluded lacked the impact promised by the initial setup.
If you’re looking for an atmospheric slice of European cinema with an opaque mystery then ‘Preparations to be Together for an Unknown Period of Time’ fits the bill, but for me I thought it didn’t fully deliver on the promising setup outlined in the opening act.
Directed By: Lili Horvát
Starring: Natasa Stork, Viktor Bodó, Benett Vilmányi, Zsolt Nagy, Péter Tóth and Andor Lukáts