László Nemes follows his Oscar-winning Son of Saul with this feverishly ambitious second feature.
Dir László Nemes
With Juli Jakab, Vlad Ivanov and Marcin Czarnik
A Curzon Artificial Eye release
It is 1913, nearing the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and on the eve of the First World War. Írisz Leiter (a haunting Juli Jakab) is a hat maker who returns to Budapest years after being fostered under mysterious circumstances. Her parents had been respected milliners, owners of a shop bearing their name and who served both the wealthy and aristocracy. A whispered secret about why they’re no longer there casts a sinister pall over the shop. When Írisz tries to get work, the new owner is unsettled by her reappearance and politely, but firmly, buys her a ticket to leave the city. But Írisz doesn’t do anything she is told and soon finds herself pulled into the city’s dark turmoil and a mystery about her past. As the plot becomes less linear, the film’s dark beauty intensifies, Mátyás Erdély’s photography seems to contain distilled essence of half century of European arthouse cinema and an increasingly disquieting and anxious score suggests a darkness of the soul. Favouring poetry over the literal, Nemes’ gives us a fugue-like meditation on the end of an empire; the brilliantly wilful Írisz our witness to the flickering innocence of a Europe about to be plunged into hell.
Tricia Tuttle, Director BFI Festivals
Tickets on sale to BFI Patrons and Champions Wed 5 Jun 11:30, to BFI Members Wed 5 Jun 12:30 and to the public from Wed 5 Jun 16:00.