Much has been made of Hungarian film in recent years, with the huge international success of features like Son of Saul, and On Body and Soul, both of which garnered the top industry awards, with an Oscar for the former and Golden Bear for the later. It appears there may be another huge success on the horizon with the debut of one of On Body and Soul director's former students, Zsófia Szilágyi. The young director is getting lots of positive attention and reviews as her feature Egy Nap, or One Day, premiered this week in the Semaine de la Critique, or the “Critics’s Week” section of the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.
According to the film’s press material, One Day deals with the mounting stress put on a mother and wife over the course of a single day. “Anna (Zsófia Szamosi) is constantly running around – from work to the nursery, to school, to ballet, to fencing class. As if this wasn’t enough, she suspects that her husband is cheating on her. Her issues are hardly unique, but she has simply no time to stop and think them through. They build up relentlessly, threatening to crush her. Carrying on takes more energy than she has left. Will she be able to save what’s fragile and unique in her life?”
In her director’s notes Szilágyi writes: “Slowly and consistently, the film shows — from her viewpoint — how Anna’s day marches on. It is this very perspective and the handling of time that make up the film’s core. We do not elegantly pass by certain repetitive actions and we do not change our perspective either. We go through them, just like she has to. Neither she, nor we can avoid them. The film tells about everyday time and the forceful nature of routine.”
Astute readers and film fans will recognize the name and face of lead actor Zsófia Szamosi, who also starred as the authoritarian choir teacher in “Sing”, another Hungarian film to achieve success, winning an Oscar in the Best Foreign Short category.
The Hollywood Reporter called One Day “intense”, praising its camerawork and screenplay, as well as Szamosi’s portrayal of a woman at loose ends. Screen Daily called it an “unexpectedly powerful drama…” and said “Szilágyi delivers a sympathetic women’s movie that makes the car chases and shootouts of the classic action genre look like the easy option compared to the challenge of holding down three kids, a job and a wayward husband.”
Only time will tell if One Day has the power and momentum to follow in the footsteps of Son of Saul and On Body and Soul. But a strong showing at Cannes, and positive critical notices are a great indication that this is one Hungarian film to keep an eye on.
Below find the trailer for One Day.
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