Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time (2020)

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Image via miff.com.au

Full of slow twists and turns and existential ruminations on the intersections of physiology, memory and personality, Lili Horvát’s enigmatic drama gives us no easy answers.

With an absorbingly stoic visage, Márta Vizy (Natasa Stork) flies to Budapest on a romantic whim to meet a fellow neurosurgeon she met fleetingly at a conference. Missing their rendezvous, she tracks down the object of her affection, János Drexler (Viktor Bodó), but he claims to not know her. Undeterred, or perhaps suspecting that he is gaslighting her, she gets a job at the same hospital and rents an apartment so that she can be near him.

And so begins a beautifully-filmed, atmospheric meander through the intricacies of memory and identity. Márta’s psychiatrist Péter Tóth suggests she would prefer to find she has a personality disorder and that she created her encounter with János in her head than to find out he is a liar. By day she performs intricate operations where she delicately tinkers with people’s cognitive functions yet she can’t seem to make sense of her own mind.

Horvát keeps us guessing for a long time, watching as Márta and János play cat and mouse games – or do they? – and Márta fends off the aggressive protestations of love of a younger man, who seems to be just as much of a stalker as she is. All the time, we are waiting for a reveal which comes eventually and is something of an anticlimax. It made me wonder if I had spent the last 95 minutes wisely.


Have you seen this film? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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