The romantic historical drama about the Saviour of Mothers, Ignác Semmelweis, will be presented in New York on 23 October, the commemoration day of the 1956 revolution, just before its official premiere. The screening will take place at the Museum of the Moving Image, organized by the Liszt Institute of New York.
Lajos Koltai’s film, produced with the support of the National Film Institute (NFI) and by the Szupermodern Film Studio, portrays the life and work of Ignác Semmelweis, the world-famous Hungarian obstetrician who challenged traditional theories and sought to combat one of the most devastating diseases of the 19th century, puerperal fever. He also fought against the entrenched medical establishment, who tried to protect their authority from the consequences of the discoveries made by the passionate Hungarian doctor. The romantic drama evokes the atmosphere of 19th-century Vienna, the life-or-death tragedies in the contemporary hospitals, the irreconcilable differences between Austrian and Hungarian doctors, and the tormenting desire of love.
The New York premiere of Semmelweis will be attended by Csaba Káel, the Government Commissioner for Film Affairs and Chairman of NFI Board of Directors, Lajos Koltai, the film’s director, Tamás Lajos, the film’s producer, and Miklós H. Vecsei, the young Hungarian actor who plays the title role. The screening will be followed by a discussion with the filmmakers.
The Museum of Moving Image, which hosts the exclusive screening of Semmelweis in New York, originated from one of the most significant film studios of the 20th century, the Kaufman Studios. It produced groundbreaking productions such as Sesame Street, Hair, and Goodfellas, and was home to iconic figures like Frank Sinatra and Diana Ross.
The producer, Tamás Lajos, emphasized the international importance of Ignác Semmelweis’s story, stating that the film will be shown abroad thanks to its international character. Lajos Koltai, an Oscar-nominated cinematographer and director, cast Miklós H. Vecsei and Katica Nagy in the lead roles, with László Gálffi, Tamás Kovács, Ferenc Lengyel, Nelli Szűcs, Ferenc Elek, Lajos Kovács, Anna Györgyi, Attila Csapó, István Znamenák, Károly Hajduk, Kornél Simon, Blanka Mészáros, and Lilla Kizlinger also playing significant roles.
The cinematographer for Semmelweis was András Nagy; the screenplay was written by Balázs Maruszki, and the film’s dramaturge was acclaimed Hungarian script writer Krisztina Goda. Pater Sparrow served as the production designer, Györgyi Szakács as the costume designer, and Zoltán Kovács as the editor of the film, which will be distributed by InterCom in cinemas across Hungary from 30 November.
Sources: Hungarian Conservative/NFI/MTI