31 October 2019

ON THE QUIET premier at Tallinn Black Nights

Zoltán Nagy’s harassment drama, developed and produced in the frame of the Fund’s Incubator Programme, will be premiered in the prestigious First Feature Competition at Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival.

The selection embodies the festival’s mission to discover emerging creative voices, offering them a first launchpad.

Zoltán Nagy made himself known already with his short film ‘Mildly Salty’ which he made as his final thesis and which was declared the best Hungarian short film of the year. The main reason his shorts are highly recognised is the fact that he is able to create a film-like atmosphere. We shall also see this in his first full-length feature film which in addition to everything else uses beautiful music as an essential dramatic counterpoint.

On the Quiet - Gábor Máté (Photo: Vertigo Media)

Dávid is the first violinist, the soloist of a youth orchestra. Nóra is a cellist who has just joined the orchestra, several years younger than Dávid. The boy finds out that the orchestra’s 60-year-old conductor and music teacher is sexually harassing the insecure newcomer. Dávid wants to protect the girl, but it’s not at all easy, because the conductor is his mentor, almost a stepfather. And there is no direct evidence of harassment. Indeed, such things generally happen quietly. Even if any bystanders notice anything, they prefer not to talk about it.

"The film touches on an important topic, but the authors do not tell the story in an unambiguous way. Zoltán and his fellow screenwriter János Antal Horváth have created a situation as life-like as possible. At the end of the film, every viewer will definitely have an opinion which may be entirely different from their neighbour: harassment was obvious, there was no harassment, or where there is smoke, there is fire.” – Black Nights’ curator Mihkel Möölman introduced the Hungarian film.  

On the Quiet -Lulu Bognar (Photo: Vertigo Media)

Zoltán Nagy (b. 1988) first studied directing at Sapientia Hungarian University of Transylvania, Romania, before getting accepted for his MA studies the University of Theatre and Film Arts, Budapest (SZFE). His short film ‘Switch’ got accepted to several international film festivals, and ‘Mildly Salty’ was his graduation film.  

“I started working on 'On the Quiet' because I wanted to examine - partially because of things that happened to me and around me when I was 18 - what it is like to have someone really close to you fall under suspicion: your father, your colleague, or your mentor. I think these cases are being debated in a shallow, sensation-centric way. In my first feature film, 'On the Quiet', I tried to go under the surface and see the layers of it all.” – noted Zoltán Nagy.  

Following the Tallinn Black Nights premiere on 22 November attended by the film crew, 'On the Quiet' will be on show at the Danish Film Institute’s East by Southeast festival in Copenhagen.