Cannes Film Review: ‘One Day’

Variety | 5/10/2018 | Alissa Simon
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Modest drama “One Day” shows 36 hours in a disintegrating marriage from the point of view of the wife — a middle-class mother of three — who is already maximally stressed by the petty problems of her daily routine. It’s a confidently and naturalistically helmed feature debut by Zsófia Szilágyi (a former student of and assistant to Academy Award nominee Ildiko Enyedi) delivered in a precisely detailed, unhurried, hyper-real way. The film nabbed the Fipresci award from the international film critics for best first or second feature at the Cannes Film Festival. The prize should raise the profile of this intense, intimate work among festival programmers and European buyers, and marks the director as a talent to watch.

The central character, thirtysomething Anna (Zsófia Szamosi) is always forced into short-term problem-solving mode, and is so constantly on the go that she never has time to think about the big picture, let alone consider a proposed vacation or even arrange to have the kitchen faucet fixed. For her, it’s no problem to have a bucket catch the drips; a plumber would be a strain on the family’s already overstretched finances.

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In between transporting her noisy, hyperactive children — Simon (Ambrus Barcza), Sari (Zorka Varga-Blasko) and baby Marko (Mark Gardos) — to school, as well as extra-curricular activities and dealing with grandma (Éva Vándor), Anna teaches Italian part-time to adults. Her relationship with her attorney husband, Szabolcs (installation artist Leo Furedi), has deteriorated into the briskly businesslike: there’s tag-team parenting, and then after the noisy brood is bathed and in bed, a discussion of household expenses.

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