Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time

Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time

(Felkészülés meghatározatlan ideig tartó együttlétre)

Director: Lili Horváth

Runtime: 140 minutes

Cast: Natasa Stork, Viktor Bodó,  Benett Vilmányi


Synopsis: 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.


Hungarian writer/director Lili Horvát’s accomplished second feature – after The Wednesday Child (2015) – plays with the tropes of film noir and the psychological thriller to stunning effect.

Respected neurosurgeon Márta, played by outstanding newcomer Natasa Stork, meets fellow surgeon János (Viktor Bodó) at a conference and decides to travel back from the USA to her native Hungary to see him. Márta is now in her forties but has decided to leave her prestigious American career behind her to pursue love. She gets off the plane and rushes to their planned romantic meeting spot on the Pest side of the city’s Liberty Bridge. When Janos doesn’t show up, Márta decides to stay on in Budapest and visits him at the hospital where he works. Seeing him walking out of the building she approaches him, but János claims he and Márta have never previously met, let alone fallen in love. Márta faints, and is helped by young medical student Alex (Benett Vilmány), who then falls in love with her, further complicating matters. Márta becomes increasingly obsessed with János but strives to separate the real from the imagined.

Beautifully shot Budapest locations range from Marta’s run-down rented flat with its view of her favourite bridge, to the city’s streets and distinctive architecture, which are moodily captured by the cinematography of Róbert Maly, with a captivating score from Gábor Keresztes.

Horvát’s film successfully walks a precarious tightrope, unnerving and engrossing in equal measures. Marta remains enigmatic, caught up in a romantic obsession which leaves her completely detached from her surroundings and isolated in her loneliness.

Is she an irrational fantasist – a person so dissatisfied with life that she mistakes her dreams for reality? Is there something more sinister occurring and what are the ineluctable facts?

As a skilled neurosurgeon, Márta begins working in Budapest, appearing to continue to meet the mysterious doctor Janos. Lili Horváth’s film is a noir-tinged study of the limits of perception that engages the heart as much as the intellect.


Streaming on Curzon Home Cinema

Images courtesy of Curzon Artificial Eye