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Natasa Stork talks about getting into the mind of a brain surgeon in her first lead movie role

Since it’s initial release last year, Hungarian film Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time has been travelling the world playing at international film festivals and receiving accolades and awards wherever it goes.

With 19 nominations and 10 wins so far, including two best actress awards for lead actor Natasa Stork, it’s a film that has clearly resonated across the globe.

Stork plays neurosurgeon Márta, who returns from the US to Hungary after experiencing a sudden and passionate connection with a fellow Hungarian doctor (Viktor Bodó) at a convention.

The two had agreed to rendezvous by a bridge in Budapest but when he doesn’t show up she tracks him down to his place of work, only for him to deny ever seeing her before.

Not knowing whether she is being gaslighted or she really did dream up the encounter, Márta is determined to find out the truth even as she begins to question her own sanity.

For Stork, the film gave her the chance to act in her first lead role in a movie.

“We have such a small industry in Hungary and actors mainly work in theatre, so it was a very special moment in my life to play such a big role in a movie,” she said.

“It was also a great experience because the director [Lili Horvát] and I found a great connection to each other.”

“Usually directors have a concept of the character and they try to find someone who fits that completely.

“Though Lili had a vision about this character, I have a feeling that after she had met me she really tried to make her fit to me.”

Stork plays Márta, a talented brain surgeon who moves back to Budapest to meet a man.
Camera IconStork plays Márta, a talented brain surgeon who moves back to Budapest to meet a man. Credit: Supplied

Stork said working with Horvat, who also wrote the screenplay, really helped her to get inside the complexities of Márta.

“Often when you work with a male director, it’s almost like you have to play his vision of what a female is, but with a female director, you are often playing her, so it’s more complex.”

“As an actor for me it was just really interesting to work with such a clever character and work out how to show that she’s a super intelligent and talented brain surgeon.”

In preparation to play the role, Stork spent time in hospitals to learn firsthand what it’s like to be in a real surgery room.

“Lili really wanted me to understand what it means to go to a hospital every morning and be a female in this male dominated world of surgeons,” she said.

“A lot of doctors helped me to understand their work.

“As an actor it’s wonderful that you can get to experience such different jobs.”

Stork said not being able to go with the film to festivals because of the pandemic has made it hard to properly feel the impact of the film’s success.

“It’s weird because on the one hand I’m very happy that these things have happened but it’s probably the most unlucky time when it could happen,” she said.

“But I’m very grateful that people can watch this film so far across the world.”

Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time is now showing exclusively at Luna Leederville.

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