Sunset | Chicago Reader

Sunset

Who are you? What are you doing here? These questions echo throughout Hungarian writer-director László Nemes’s 2018 sophomore film, underscoring its aura of anxiety and tilting disorientation in the face of a murky unknown future. Set in Budapest on the brink of World War I, this drama follows a woman (Juli Jakab, in her debut) who returns to the high-end hat shop her parents once owned in search of work, only to learn of the existence of a long-lost brother. She sets off to look for him in shadowy alleys, gothically lit soirees, and dim men’s-only clubs. The pursuit is more interesting than her day job at the hat shop, which turns out to be a luminous gilded cage. Nemes doles tension out lavishly but skimps on the payoff, making Jakab’s clear-eyed heroine purposeless and ultimately muddling what seemed to be a compelling mystery at the outset. Instead, this feels like an abstract ode to the frantic, listless, tightly wound thing a city becomes on the eve of its demise. In Hungarian, with subtitles.

Credits

Director:

  • László Nemes

Cast:

  • Susanne Wuest
  • Vlad Ivanov
  • Bjorn Freiberg
  • Juli Jakab
  • Judit Bardos
  • Levente Molnár
  • Evelin Dobos
  • Urs Rechn
  • Monika Balsai
  • Julia Jakubowska
  • Janos Kulka
  • Balazs Veres
  • Marcin Czarnik
  • Christian Harting
  • Zoltan Cservak
  • Sandor Zsoter
  • Zsolt Vegh
  • Kati Lazar
  • Balazs Czukor
  • Tom Pilath

Writers:

  • Clara Royer
  • László Nemes
  • Matthieu Taponier

Producers:

  • Barnabás Hutlassa
  • François Yon
  • Gábor Rajna
  • Gábor Sipos
  • Judit Stalter
  • Nicolas Brigaud-Robert
  • Sebastien Beffa
  • Valéry Guibal
  • Virág Baranyi

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