Urban Cinefile
"It's a dark moment.we're killing the local hair dresser so everyone's hair turns to shit."  -director Steph Elliott about a scene in Welcome to Woop Woop
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Wednesday August 15, 2018 

Search SEARCH FOR A REVIEW
Our Review Policy OUR REVIEW POLICY
Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE

Help/Contact

ON BODY AND SOUL

SYNOPSIS:
Endre (Geza Morcsanyi) is the director of a Budapest abattoir. Slightly grizzled, he seems to have lived an eventful life that has eventually come to a state of solitude. When Maria (Alexandra Borbely) begins working as a quality controller at his company, Endre is attracted to her. Their interactions, however, are extremely awkward. By chance, the two discover that each night they share exactly the same beautiful dream of a pair of deer frolicking in the winter woods. Despite their incredulity, they feel compelled to attempt a romance to match their shared visions, but real life proves more difficult.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
At once strange and compelling, Enyedi Ildiko's unique and fascinating film draws us in with subtle wisps of character intrigue and harsh reality. The reality of an abattoir and its bloody business contrasts vividly with the wintry dreams of a pair of sleek deer fossicking for food. These dreams are shared by two strangers who work in the abattoir, the boss Endre (Geza Morcsanyi) and Maria (Alexandra Borbely), a contract worker executing quality control. His stubbled features and calm, almost comatose manner suggest a man withdrawn from life. Maria's straight blonde hair and expressionless demeanour likewise. His left arm is crippled; her whole soul likewise. If the universe has thrown them together, it is also responsible for their dreams and for how they deal with them.

Enyedi presents these elements with pragmatic reality, shunning all signs of mystery or mysticism: this is what happened, she is saying, and leads us through the consequences of their discovery about each other's dreams.

It is a well met challenge to make us care for these minimalist characters, but they are not so much unlikeable as unknowable and bit by bit we grow closer to them. They live in a world of casual cruelty - and I don't mean the abattoir, but the interactions of the workers - and they stand out in contrast.

Maria, repressed to the extent she can't stand being touched, finally tries to overcome her phobias (plural) and Enyedi engineers a riveting resolution - with a sweet coda.

(On Body and Soul won the 2017 Sydney Film Prize. Enyedi began her career as a concept and media artist. Her first feature My Twentieth Century (1989), screened at the 1990 Sydney Film Festival) won the Cannes Camera d'Or and was selected among the 10 Best Films of the Year by The New York Times.)

Email this article

CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

ON BODY AND SOUL (R18+)
(Hungary, 2017)

Testrol es Eletrol

CAST: Geza Morcsanyi, Alexandra Borbely, Zoltan Schneider, Ervin Nagy, Tames Jordan, Szuzsa Jaro, Julia Nyako, Itala Bekes

PRODUCER: Erno Mesterhazy, Andras Muhi, Monika Mecs

DIRECTOR: Ildiko Enyedi

SCRIPT: Ildiko Enyedi

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Maye Herbai

EDITOR: Karoly Szalai

MUSIC: Adam Balazs

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Imola Lang

RUNNING TIME: 116 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Armin Miladi

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 10, 2018







Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2018