Natural Light

Természetes fény

Hungary, Latvia, France, Germany 2021
In Hungarian and Russian, with English subtitles
103 min
Suitable for audiences aged 16 and above
Director: Dénes Nagy
Screenplay: Dénes Nagy based on Pál Závada’s novel
Cast: Ferenc Szabó, Tamás Garbacz, László Bajkó, Gyula Franczia, Ernő Stuhl
Production: Sára László, Marcell Gerő, Inese Boka-Grūbe, Caroline Piras, Melanie Blocksdorf / Campfilm
Print Source: Another World

At first, the whole world is brown, like the rough wool uniforms of the World War II Hungarian soldiers – allies of the occupying German forces – who have been sent to a desperately cold, desperately poor region of the former Soviet Union to root out partisans. Soon enough, one face begins to emerge: that of Semetka (Ferenc Szabo), a corporal out of his comfort zone, whose point of view is adopted by Denes Nagy’s first fictional feature, and whose moral unease about the awful things he witnesses lies at the core of this remarkable debut.

Natural Light is a tough, slow film that makes demands on its audience – though much of the real horror is as just-off-screen for us as it is for Corporal Semetka. But it’s also an absorbing, beautifully crafted, thought-provoking addition to the new Hungarian cinematic wave.

Lee Marshall, Screen Daily