Szomjas describes himself as "a man of the '60s," a period when rock music and the films of Antonioni, of Poland's Andrzej Vajda--his "Ashes and Diamonds" in particular-- and France's New Wave were making an impact on young people everywhere. He had studied to be an architect only to realize how little opportunity he would have to practice that profession, and he became one of two dozen people from 1,400 applicants to survive 10 months of examinations to be admitted to the four-year program of Budapest's Academy of Stage and Film Technique.
For all its sense of immediacy, Szomjas sees "Tight Quarters" as a film of the '70s and his newest--and fifth--feature, "The Wall Driller," as a film of the '80s. Like "Tight Quarters," it is a comedy with social satire, a commentary on Hungary's new experiments in private enterprise.
"In our suburbs we have these prefabricated concrete housing projects--a terrible environment. . . . The problem is that the walls are very hard, so you have to hire this guy who's invested in a jackhammer to drill a hole so you can hang a picture!" he said.