Time Stands Still has won a deserved place in the annals of contemporary European cinema, and one tends to forget that Peter Gothar made an impressive debut film before it: A Priceless Day, winner of the Opera Prima at the Venice Film Festival. The filmmaker is also a noted stage and television director with extensive experience handling actors before turning to cinema. Gothar offers a critical view of contemporary Hungarian society. The scene is Budapest, the theme is apartment hunting, and the twist is how far a 30-year-old teacher in an illicit relationship with a married man has to go to reach her aims. The story of Iren unfolds in a pattern of relentless logic: Her belief that her married lover will one day divorce his wife to marry her leads her to accept a marriage of convenience with a third party, all of which exposes her to more pain and humiliation than she is prepared to handle. Then comes the meeting with the wife: During an evening of hard drinking, they become good friends and emotionally discard the husband—in fact, the wife is having an affair of her own on the side. This scene between Cecilia Esztergalyos (the mistress) and Judit Pogany (the wife) marks Gothar as a psychological director of the first rank. The use of a hand-held camera throughout most of the narrative reflects the nervous state-of-affairs as pieces simply refuse to fall into place as they should.