Preview/ Sunset + Q&A at HOME

Tom Grieve, Cinema Editor
HOME

Preview/ Sunset + Q&A at HOME Manchester, Manchester 19 May 2019 Tickets from £5.50 — Book now

The horror of the world lies behind these infinitely pretty things

Son of Saul director László Nemes’ much-anticipated new film arrives at HOME this month, with the Hungarian filmmaker himself in town for a Q&A following a special 35mm presentation on Sunday 19 May. With Sunset we’re launched into Budapest, early 1900s, during the climactic days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Our anchor is Írisz Leiter (Juli Jakab), a young woman who arrives in Budapest in order to work as a milliner in the renowned shop founded by her parents, who died years earlier in a fire. A go-to for high society’s hats, Írisz nevertheless senses something awry, and before long she is combining her work in the shop with a search for a long lost brother, who may or may not be involved in revolutionary plotting.

For much of its runtime, Sunset operates almost as a period noir as Írisz floats through Budapest chasing dark secrets and whispers of misdeeds. Nemes’ camera revolves around her, never straying more than two feet from her head for the 140-minute runtime as we assume her subjective point of view. It’s a dizzying, claustrophobic approach that is similar to that used in Son of Saul (the films share director of photography Mátyás Erdély.) That film was widely praised — and won an Academy Award too — but a vocal number of critics reacted angrily to the way that the novel visual scheme was applied to such serious subject matter. Nemes has clear ideas about how we should approach historic periods cinematically, but his audacious formal strategy certainly serves the story here in Sunset.

we’re required to remain alert and engaged in order to try (and mostly fail) to decipher the violent truths that the city’s inhabitants seem reluctant to release

We follow Írisz as she pursues the ghost of her brother through the city, gleaning shadowy snippets and ugly shards of information. Answers seem to lurk at the edges of the frame or unspoken on the tips of tongues. Travelling so closely alongside Írisz, we’re required to remain alert and engaged in order to try (and mostly fail) to decipher the violent truths that the city’s inhabitants seem reluctant to release. An oft repeated anecdote regarding The Big Sleep is that neither director Howard Hawks nor writer Raymond Chandler had a complete grasp of the intricacies of the plotting. Audiences didn’t stand a chance, but it hardly mattered. Who knows whether Nemes and credited co-writers Clara Royer and Matthieu Taponier have a full handle on proceedings here, confusion and frustration are induced by design.

In an opening crawl, the film tells of the grandeur and status of Budapest circa 1910. Set in the sophisticated milieu of the famous milliners and their high-society customers, what are we to make of the horrors Írisz uncovers? I won’t spoil the final shot here, but it suggests a deep-seated societal sickness with only one potential outcome. With this Nemes may overreach, but it is hard to question his ambition. In scope and construction Sunset is about as grand and intricate as they come, and it is a pleasure to try to keep with this wildly labyrinthine work, regardless of whether you decide to buy its conclusions.

Preview/ Sunset + Q&A at HOME Manchester, Manchester 19 May 2019 Tickets from £5.50 Book now

What's on at HOME Manchester

Blue Beard at HOME
Until
TheatreManchester
Blue Beard at HOME

Emma Rice and Wise Children return with a beguiling and feminist folk tale exploring curiosity, consent and the power of vengeance.

from £11.20

Where to go near Preview/ Sunset + Q&A at HOME

Manchester
Restaurant
Indian Tiffin Room, Manchester

Indian Tiffin Room is a restaurant specialising in Indian street food, with branches in Cheadle and Manchester. This is the information for the Manchester venue.

The Ritz Manchester live music venue
Manchester
Music venue
The Ritz

The Ritz was originally a dance hall, built in 1928, has hosted The Beatles, Frank Sinatra and The Smiths and is still going strong as a gig venue now.

Homeground
Manchester
Event venue
Homeground

Homeground is HOME’s brand new outdoor venue, providing an open-air space for theatre, food, film, music, comedy and more.

Manchester
Café or Coffee Shop
Burgess Cafe Bar
at IABF

Small but perfectly-formed café – which also serves as the in-house bookstore, stocking all manner of Burgess-related works, along with recordings of his music. It’s a welcoming space, with huge glass windows making for a bright, welcoming atmosphere.

Rain Bar pub in Manchester
City Centre
Bar or Pub
Rain Bar

This huge three-floor pub, formerly a Victorian warehouse, then an umbrella factory (hence the name), has one of the city centre’s largest beer gardens. The two-tier terrace overlooks the Rochdale canal and what used to be the back of the Hacienda, providing an unusual, historic view of the city.

Manchester
Bar or Pub
The Briton’s Protection

Standing on the corner of a junction opposite The Bridgewater Hall, The Briton’s Protection is Manchester’s oldest pub. It has occupied the same spot since 1795, going under the equally patriotic name The Ancient Britain.

What's on: Cinema

Culture Guides

Music in Manchester and the North

Fresh concert seasons, forward-thinking festivals and a revolving door of amazing gigs. Things are looking bright as spring comes into view.

Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

February is a month of love so art lovers in the North - rejoice! There is lots to choose from: two photography festivals, gorgeous crafts and shows celebrating local talent.