When neurosurgeon Márta abandons a brilliant career to follow her lover to Budapest, she instead finds a man who claims they’ve never met. “A treat – sinewy, seductive and beautifully strange.” —The Guardian
Screened as part of NZIFF 2021
Márta, a brilliant neurosurgeon of Hungarian extraction, falls head over heels in love with a colleague she meets at a medical convention, abandoning her high-flying American career to follow him back to Budapest. But upon encountering him again, he claims they have never met. Is she being gaslit, or is she going crazy? Or could there be more sinister forces at play?
Resisting her first instinct to flee, Márta settles in to a strange new life in Hungary in order to get to the bottom of the nebulous matter. The mystery only deepens the closer she gets to the inscrutable János, the burly object of her obsession, until we start to wonder what’s real and what isn’t, and who’s manipulating whom.
Lili Horvát’s dark psychological drama takes a Hitchcock-ready premise – there’s a nod or two to Vertigo – and drives it deep into existential film noir territory with cool efficiency and bundles of style. Like a warped Before Sunrise (1995), we meet our heroes a month after they fell in love, in the spot where they promised to rekindle that flame. But Preparations swaps hopeful romanticism for eerie ambiguity; their ‘reunion’ is only the beginning for these two austere strangers. Budapest is a noir city par excellence and plays a starring role here. — Andrew Langridge & Eleonora Mignacca
“Preparations is at its most fascinating when it engages the link between our emotions, what we believe is our reality, and the tangible nerve endings that compose the abstraction of who we are. How can we know if anything we feel or do is a manifestation of the personality that we’ve formed cognitively, or the consequence of failure in our wiring?” — Carlos Aguilar, RogerEbert.com