As a new student at György Ligeti Music School, Nóri (Lulu Bognár) has questions. Are the private initiation lessons with instructor Frigyes (Gábor Máté) the same for everyone? She can’t dispel an overwhelming feeling of discomfort, she confides to Dávid (Erik Major), the lead violinist of their orchestra group, who immediately confirms her experience: something isn’t right, and probably hasn’t been at the school for a long time.
Though we never see what happened in those private lessons, Zoltán Nagy, in his feature debut, convincingly sketches out the ways institutions quickly manoeuvre to protect themselves, and how that reactionary stance is replicated by individuals. Frigyes, something of a father figure at the insular academy, wields a subtler brand of weaponized charisma that will ring a bell for fans of Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash. And Dávid’s motivation is mixed up in a last-minute public performance switch from Fauré to Sibelius, which nixes his senior-year solo. Either way, Nagy and co-writer János Antal Horváth seem to say, illusory cultural prestige gets in the way.
Erik Major, Gábor Máté, Lulu Bognár, Dorottya Antóci, Benjámin Lengyel, Judit Schell
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The son of two music teachers, and a violin student himself, Zoltán Nagy studied directing at Sapientia Hungarian University of Transylvania, Romania, before getting accepted for his MA studies to the University of Theatre and Film Arts, Budapest. His short film Switch (Átváltozás, 2015) was presented at several international film festivals; Mildly Salty (Enyhén sós, 2018) was his graduation film. On the Quiet is his first feature.