Semmelweis – Lajos Koltai’s Film Breaks Records in Hungarian Cinemas

  • 25 Feb 2024 8:31 AM
Semmelweis – Lajos Koltai’s Film Breaks Records in Hungarian Cinemas
In an impressive return to the director’s chair, Lajos Koltai’s latest masterpiece, “Semmelweis,” has taken the Hungarian film industry by storm. As the highest-grossing local movie in the past half-decade, it has reinvigorated Hungary’s cinematic landscape.

Koltai, renowned for his Oscar-nominated cinematography in “Malena,” brings to life the story of Dr. Ignac Semmelweis, the pioneering Hungarian physician dubbed the “saviour of mothers.”

Since its debut on November 30, “Semmelweis” has attracted a massive audience, maintaining a position among the top three films for nine consecutive weeks and grossing over $1.7 million.

The narrative is set in the heart of 19th century Vienna and delves into the life of Semmelweis, whose innovations in antiseptic practices at a maternity clinic marked a turning point in medical history.

The plot thickens as Semmelweis, portrayed by the talented Miklós H. Vecsei, faces opposition from his superior, who forbids him from researching puerperal fever, a deadly epidemic plaguing the hospital.

Despite being undermined at every turn and subjected to espionage by a young midwife, Emma Hoffmann, Semmelweis‘s determination leads to a breakthrough in preventing the fever. This discovery, however, brings its own set of challenges as he strives to prove his theory amidst skepticism from his peers.

Koltai‘s depiction of Semmelweis‘s life is not just a historical biopic but a profound exploration of dedication, resilience, and the relentless pursuit of truth.

The relationship between Semmelweis and Hoffmann evolves from mistrust to romance, adding a personal dimension to the scientific endeavor and highlighting the human element in the quest for knowledge and innovation.

This marks the third cinematic tribute to the physician revered by Hungarians, following André de Toth‘s 1940 rendition and Frigyes Bán‘s 1952 adaptation.

Alongside Vecsei‘s compelling portrayal, the film boasts a talented crew, with Balázs Maruszki penning the script, András Nagy‘s cinematography capturing the essence of the era, and Attila Pacsay‘s music enriching the narrative’s emotional depth.

Produced by Tamás Lajos at Szupermodern Filmstúdió and Joe Vida, and with backing from the National Film Institute of Hungary, “Semmelweis” is a significant addition to the annals of Hungarian cinema, celebrating the legacy of a man whose groundbreaking work continues to save lives today.

Source: - republished with permission

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