Few directorial debuts in recent years have had the impact of László Nemes’ “Son Of Saul.” The Hungarian director, a former assistant to Bela Tarr, broke out two years ago with the wrenching Holocaust drama, and its assured, ambitious direction made it a rare film from a first-timer in the Official Selection at Cannes in 2015. It went on to win the Grand Prix at the festival there, before taking the Best Foreign Language prize at the Oscars last year, instantly making Nemes a major international filmmaker.
Since then, we’ve learned that Nemes’ next film would be another period piece named “Sunset” (“It’s a coming-of-age story” Nemes said in 2015, “also a thriller, the story of a young woman in Budapest. It takes place in a very important moment, before the First World War and before civilization starts going into the darkness. “[The Nazis] killed all of that. The 20th century transformed Hungary into an ethnically pure country in a way.”), but few details have emerged since that, including a timeline. But the director sat down with Hungarian station Radio Tilos (via Origo Filmklub), and it’s become a little clearer what it’ll be about, who’ll be involved, and even what it’ll look like.
As previously reported, the film is set before World War One, specifically in 1913, in Budapest, and focuses on a young orphan who travels to the hat store that her parents once owned, in hope of job. When she doesn’t get it, she learns that she has a brother she never knew about, and in searching for him, uncovers some dark secrets (we’ve got a full loosely translated synopsis for the film below).
Hungarian actress Juli Jakab (principally a screenwriter, but who played the most notable female character in “Son Of Saul”) will take the lead role, while a more familiar face will play Oszkár Brill, the new owner of the hat shop — Romanian actor Vlad Ivanov, who played the abortionist in Palme D’Or winner “4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days,” and also featured in “Snowpiercer” and “Toni Erdmann.” Above and below, you’ll find some pictures obtained by Origo Filmklub of Jakab in costume tests, taken by DoP Matyas Erdely (“James White”), who’ll reunite with Nemes after shooting “Son Of Saul.”
Production hasn’t yet kicked off, but is scheduled to get underway in June, with the film aiming to debut at Cannes in 2018. Nemes modestly says that he “wouldn’t want to presume” that the festival selects the movie, but given his previous success, we can’t imagine Thierry Fremaux would pass it up. All being well, we’ll see more of “Sunset” next year, and we’re very excited indeed.
1913. Budapest. In the heart of Europe.
Írisz Leiter, a young woman who was raised in an orphanage arrives in capital of Hungary with the hopes of working in the ladies’ hat store which once belonged to her late parents and is now run by their former associate, Oszkár Brill. The man refuses to give her the job. Through a stranger Írisz discovers that she has a brother, by the name of Kálmán Leiter whose very existence was concealed from her.
Searching for her brother she discovers dark secrets and gets caught up in the confusion of a civilizaton on the brink of collapse
photo credit: Mátyás Erdély / Laookon Filmgroup