PRODUCTION: Oscar-Nominated Lajos Koltai Explores Life of Revolutionary Hungarian Doctor Ignác Semmelweis

    The Invisible Killer by Lajos Koltai The Invisible Killer by Lajos Koltai credit: FilmPositive

    BUDAPEST: Lajos Koltai, who had been nominated as cinematographer for an Academy Award for Giuseppe Tornatore’s Malena in 2001, started shooting a new film as a director on 19 July 2022. The romantic drama The Invisible Killer / A láthatatlan gyilkos follows a life-changing year from the life of doctor Ignác Semmelweis, also known as the „saviour of mothers”.

    Vienna, 1847. A mysterious epidemic is raging at a maternity clinic, killing mothers. Hungarian doctor Ignác Semmelweis tries to overcome the childbed fever by going against the traditional theories. He finds a companion in a young Austrian midwife, with whom he also develops a romantic relationship.

    Semmelweis wins the battle against the leadership of the hospital, and progressive forces are also victorious on the streets, as the revolution breaks out in Vienna and Pest. The doctor sets out to use his discovery for the benefit of birthing women in his homeland as well.

    "I want to show the audience that it can indeed be done: persistence, determination, dedication, and passion will pay off," Koltai said in a statement.

    Semmelweis and his romantic interest are played by Miklós Vecsei H. and Katica Nagy. Vecsei graduated from the University of Theatre and Film Arts in Budapest in 2015, and has appeared in many successful theatre plays. Semmelweis will be his first leading role in a feature film. 

    Katica Nagy was also a student at the same university, and she had a memorable role in Bad Poems / Rossz Versek directed by Gábor Reisz and produced by Proton Cinema. She also played the title character in the historical drama Magdolna directed by Tamás Buvári and produced by SzeretFilm.

    "When choosing the lead actors, I did not look for external similarities, but for magical personalities, in whom I believe, with whom we can bring this beautiful and very powerful story to the audience. Miklós Vecsei H. and Katica Nagy are just like that", said the director.

    The screenplay by Balázs Maruszki and Anett Kormos was preceded by a lot of research work.

    The 19th-century Vienna is brought to life in Budapest locations. The shooting will last 55 days.

    The Invisible Killer is produced by Tamás Lajos and József Vida through Szupermodern Studio. It was supported by the National Film Institute - Hungary with 5.63 m EUR / 2.26 billion HUF.

    The film is set to be released in 2023.

    Ignác Semmelweis's life and his groundbreaking medical discovery concerning antiseptic practices have already inspired many films. The first one about him in Hungary, Semmelweis, was directed by André De Toth in 1939. Frigyes Bán also made a film in 1952 under the same title. Most recently, a theatrical play was presented in Bristol in 2022 with Oscar-winner Mark Rylance in the lead role of the Hungarian doctor.

    Lajos Koltai started his career as a director of photography and he worked on the Oscar-winning Mephisto and several other feature films by director István Szabó. His first feature film as a director was the adaptation of the world-famous novel Fateless / Sorstalanság by Nobel prize-winner Imre Kertész. The Hungarian/German/UK coproduction produced by Hungarian Motion Picture Ltd. was released in 2005. The Invisible Killer is his first directing job since the USA/German coproduction Evening (2007) starring Vanessa Redgrave, Claire Danes and Toni Collette.

    Production Information:

    Szupermodern Studio (Hungary)
    Abel Köves: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Director: Lajos Koltai
    DoP: András Nagy
    Scriptwriters: Balázs Maruszki, Anett Kormos
    Editor: Zoltán Kovács
    Production designer: Pater Sparrow
    Costume designer: Györgyi Szakács
    Cast: Miklós Vecsei H., Katica Nagy