Experiencing Interruptions?


An elderly man experiences a strange line of events in the comfort of his home: it’s like his mundane objects conspired in a cacophony to remind him of his increasing hearing problems as a symbol of growing isolation.

An elderly man in his mid-70s finally arrives home from a somewhat tiring visit to the market. After some rattling with his keys, he enters through the screeching front door. He starts his daily routine in his small, humble apartment, beginning to make himself comfortable surrounded by the familiar, faint old objects around him. From here on, the film goes on in real time. While putting on the kettle, he starts hearing some suspicious noises – not yet certain about their source. While then switching on the radio, the strange and disturbing noises in his ears begin to bother him more and it becomes clear that their source is his hearing aid. Beethoven’s seventh symphony is on the radio – he can’t unnotice the irony. Fed up, he then walks to his living room, trying to entertain himself by watching some TV. Throughout the channels, increasingly intense and disturbing noises of the broadcast shows induce a strange, confusing and annoying cacophony with his broken hearing aid – the title reflects this in the form of the Italian musical expression: like a hammer in his ears. Seems like every source of sound conspired against him. It finally becomes unbearable: in his ears now there is a compound of real and imaginary noises, accompanied by the boiling kettle’s whistle. Fed up, ruffled and angry, he tears out the hearing aid from his ears and throws it out the kitchen window with a defiant howl. We finally see his relieved face amidst a strangely relieved laughter.

  • Sára Kende
    Break Even (short, 2019)
  • Sára Kende
    Break Even (short, 2019)
  • Péter Haumann
    Key Cast
    Woyzeck (1994)
  • Eszter Csepeli
    Cinematography by
    A kivégzés (2014)
  • Wajda Dávid Bodnár
    Jupiter's Moon (2017)
  • Flóra Erdélyi
    Codex (2016)
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    3 minutes 22 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 14, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    100 EUR
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Shortie Film Festival
    New York
    United States
    October 3, 2019
Director Biography - Sára Kende

A Budapest-based beginner in filmmaking, currently studying production management at the University of Theatre and Film Arts, Budapest, Hungary (SzFE), being interested at both the production aspects of filmmaking and directing. Has an academic background in psychology and political science.

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Director Statement

The film touches upon several of the themes I find most interesting (and would like to explore more in-depth in the future) as potential film subjects. I was certain from the beginning that I would like to concentrate on old age, isolation and loneliness. Still, I wanted to reflect on some of its natural facets that are not necessarily typically highlighted: as starting point, the inadequacy of and lack of means to meaningfully and interactively communicate, and keep contact with the outside world. But from here on, I didn’t want to focus on the stereotypical representation of the elderly as reacting to this reduction of human contact with resignation in their loneliness, rather with righteous anger, perhaps passion and stubbornly attempting to keep in touch. A useful abstract and concrete manifestation of this remaining contact is the hearing aid. This is also the point where my real-life inspiration came from: my grandparents and their actual, stubborn struggle against isolation while experiencing a wide range of fluctuating emotions in their everyday life – very much unlike the harmful, oversimplified stereotype of how pop culture often represents the elderly as silently accepting isolation and loneliness. One can legitimately get angry and react to annoyance with liberating, defiant (perhaps stupid) actions such as throwing out one of the main remaining instrument of contact with others – in this case, an actual hearing aid -, regardless of age. Whatever comes next, it could definitely be liberating.

Image and sound:
From the very first stages of elaborating the creative concept, I felt the need to express the equal importance and concentrated interplay of image and sound in the film. This is why we started designing their layout together with DoP Eszter Csepeli and Sound Engineer Wajda Dávid Bodnár. The main intention was to avoid redundance and obvious, over-explanatory visual representation of the purposefully crafted and composed way to cacophony. This reflects on our general attitude toward the underappreciated narrative role of sound as an autonomous storytelling device in film.
Regarding the imagery of the film, we purposefully avoided using wide-angle shots (having used a 50mm lens, only once a 85mm one) in order to highlight the narrowed world of the character. Depth of focus was not entirely smoothed out throughout the images, reflecting on the intended sensitivity of shifts between shots and the parallel, smooth perception of changes in sound. For this purpose, the 50mm lens was an ideal choice.
The colour dramaturgy of the film intentionally moves from a colder colour scheme with a fainter, overbearingly pastel, desaturated, more monochromatic beginning to the stronger, dramatic contrast of blue and yellow, and that of natural and artificial light (latter provided by the TV in the background). In the end we somewhat return to the original colour scheme, as an expression of relief and release.
Overall, the imagery reflects on the narrowed reality of the character, with its constant background accessories. He is more or less completely isolated from the outside world in every sense (see also the large depth of focus). It was inspired by the works of Darius Khondji, János Tóth (with his enigmatic impressionist inserts alluding to old age and nostalgia) and Sándor Sára – all masters of creating pointed metaphorical associations with small background details.

About the project
Crew members were recruited from a friendly circle of colleagues familiar with each other from previous projects. The director’s dilemma was to go for it more or less alone as a complete amateur or to convince professional collaborators to create something together basically for the joy of filmmaking. Luckily, the latter was the case. From a simple and clear idea born on a Friday morning in April, 2019, the cast and crew was already set by next Monday – to the surprise and awe of the director, including the legendary Hungarian theatre and film actor, Péter Haumann. The story was already inspired by the originally known shooting location: an elderly lady’s humble apartment in a historic neighbourhood of Budapest. All pieces fell into place in a matter of days.

The film only had a symbolic budget to cover logistics. All conditions, location, unit and technical devices were provided pro bono. It couldn’t have been made without the dedication and voluntary work of the whole cast and crew. The project was an inspiring collaboration of friendly colleagues – beginners (certainly the director) and experienced professionals brought the film to life in a period of just two weeks: one week of pre-production, a single shooting day and another week of post-production in Budapest, Hungary, April 2019.