Horvát’s Preparations to be Together for an Unknown Period of Time (Felkészülés meghatározatlan ideig tartó együttlétre) is an excellent psychological mystery.
Natasa Stork plays Márta Vizy, a brilliant Hungarian brain surgeon who has been living in the United States. At a conference in New Jersey, she has a brief affair with a Hungarian neurosurgeon, János Drexler (Viktor Bodó), who teaches at a medical university in Budapest. They agree to meet back in Budapest at a certain spot at a certain time on a certain day. Márta is convinced that János is the love of her life. She travels to Budapest, but János doesn’t show up. So Márta tracks him down in the parking lot as he leaves the hospital where he works and confronts him about standing her up. János claims to have no idea who she is and walks away. And Márta faints.
Is János lying or has Márta imagined the whole episode? Determined, Márta takes a position at the same hospital as János. Meanwhile, she seeks out a psychiatrist, who eventually urges her, as a doctor herself, to make her own diagnosis. She decides, “The diagnosis is love.” But what is the nature of love? Is it just an obsession? Or, as director Horvát puts it, “When we fall in love we project things on the other person.”
Preparations to be Together for an Unknown Period of Time is a mesmerizing experience with a couple of unexpected plot twists at the end that change the way we view Márta.
To prepare for her role, Natasa Stork spent one day a week following a brain surgeon on his rounds, even watching surgical operations. And, in the relatively small world of Hungarian cinema, Viktor Bodó was one of Stork’s teachers when she attended film school.