Directed by: Lajos Koltai

Film followed by Q&A with Actress

Katica Nagy

This handsome historical drama, based on a true story, is set in Vienna in 1847. It revolves around medical pioneer Ignác Semmelweis, a short-tempered but passionate Hungarian doctor struggling to find a cure for a mysterious fever that is killing patients—mothers and their babies—in the maternity ward he oversees. His considerable ambition and his research method soon draw the disfavour of his superiors, who order him to stop. They even enlist a young midwife named Emma to secretly spy on him. After a turbulent first encounter, the relationship between Ignác and Emma grows into something more than merely professional. As the fever spreads and with half his peers discrediting him, the tenacious doctor carries on his fight to discover a cure, with Emma by his side. Meanwhile, outside the hospital walls, a social powder keg of political and revolutionary forces is about to explode.

Historical drama
124 min

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[Horák] matches each of the film’s periods to a different style: the 1960s to the Czech New Wave, the 1970s to normalization films, and the 1980s to documentary-like grainy footage. The stylisation enables a fine adjustment of dramatic effects”

(Martin Kudláč, Cineuropa).


  • Bulgarian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards 2018
  • Golden Rose Festival of Bulgarian film: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Critics Gild Award and Audience Award
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