Sunset (Napszállta) (2018) dir. Laszlo Nemes

RigaIFF Festival Selection
A nightmarish walk through Budapest before the First World War is the newest sophomore feature of Son of Saul’s (2015) director.
As the directors previous film went high and won an Oscar for the Best Foreign Language Film, I was expecting an well done follow up. Sunset is much different, it is chaos in the heart of Europe through a young girl’s – Irisz Leiter’s (    Juli Jakab) vision. She arrives hopping to work as a milliner at a legendary hat store that belonged to her parents but is thrown away by the owner. The woman is visited by a man who is looking for her family member. She refuses to leave the city and follows the man’s tracks into the dark night.
The 35mm camera mostly strictly follows Irisz from the behind with many longshots through the impressive sets. This distinct visual style sets it apart from most films and is one of the films trumps. Although it is not fascinating enough to keep the viewer intrigued for almost 2 and a half hours. It all has a dreamlike, nightmarish fairy-tale effect.
Costume designer’s (Györgyi Szakács) and production designer’s (László Rajk) work is stunning, sometimes it steals away from the cast or in places that just seem to be uncut or unnecessary. Budapest seems perfectly real as the streets are full of different classes and the interior is done exceptionally, with every tea cup and fork being authentic. It is full with life and emotion but lacks soul and connection with the viewer. Intrigued what Nemes will offer us next.

written by Kristians Fukss


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