Lili Horvát’s “Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time” has been selected as the official Hungarian entry for the international feature film category at the Academy Awards.
The film had its world premiere as part of the Venice Days lineup, and premiered in North America at the Toronto Film Festival. It was awarded the Golden Hugo in the New Directors Competition at the Chicago Film Festival, Philadelphia Film Festival’s best narrative feature award, Valladolid’s Golden Spike and a Fipresci Prize at Warsaw, among others.
In Variety’s review, the film is described as “a slinky noir-inflected melodrama following a brilliant brain surgeon who fears her own brain may be tricking her into romantic delusion.”
It centers on Márta, a 40-year-old neurosurgeon who falls in love. She gives up her successful career in America, and returns to Budapest to start a new life with the man she loves. But she waits for him at the Liberty Bridge in vain — he does not appear at their rendezvous. Márta starts to search for him desperately, but when she finally finds him, the love of her life claims that they have never met before.
Horvát commented: “To me, ‘Preparations…’ is primarily a personal story about the role of projection in love. Our film plays out in the unsettlingly murky no-man’s-land that separates love from madness. To what extent do we construct love stories within ourselves? How far does our desired reality go, and where does it meet actual reality? How differently can two people experience the same love?”
She said the film “shows the inner journey of a strong, determined and yet fragile woman: a neurosurgeon who has achieved everything in her career, yet something fundamental is deeply missing from her life.”
Horvát studied audiovisual arts at the Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris and film directing at the University of Theater and Film in Budapest. “The Wednesday Child,” Horvát’s first feature, won the East of West Award at Karlovy Vary Film Festival in 2015. In 2016, Horvát co-founded the production company Poste Restante, which produced “Preparations…” with the support of Hungary’s National Film Institute.
The film was produced by Dóra Csernátony, Horvát and Péter Miskolczi for Poste Restante. International sales are handled by NFI World Sales.
The decision to select the film for the Oscars was made Monday by the Hungarian Oscar Committee, whose members include Csaba Káel, government commissioner for the development of the Hungarian motion picture industry, and chairman of the National Film Institute; film director Csaba Bereczki; screenwriter Tibor Fonyódi; film distribution expert András Kálmán; producer Ákos Pesti; and cinematographer Emil Novák.