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On Body and Soul

On Body and Soul

Mar. 02, 2017Hungary116 Min.NOT RATED
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On Body and Soul 123 Full Movie Plot & Release Dates.

The words “I’ll see you in my dreams” get an eerie, affecting new spin in “On Body and Soul,” a determinedly eccentric but intermittently startling misfit romance that marks a singular return to feature filmmaking for Hungarian writer-director Ildikó Enyedi after an 18-year gap. Charting the very slow-burning attraction between two lonely abattoir workers who simply cannot connect in the real world as intimately as they do in the dreams they mysteriously share, Enyedi’s film blends mournfully poetic whimsy with stabs of visceral brute reality: Suffice to say the slaughterhouse setting doesn’t go unexploited. If these dueling registers neatly reflect the body and soul elements of the title, the contrast between them is more formally bracing than it is emotionally illuminating. Over the course of nearly two hours, meanwhile, the film’s strange, flyaway storytelling style does lose some of its mojo.

Enyedi remains best known to film audiences for her 1989 debut feature, the lyrical estranged-twins drama “My Twentieth Century,” which earned her international distribution and the Camera d’Or at Cannes. Though the helmer has kept active in television and documentary since completing her last feature, “Simon the Magician,” in 1999, “On Body and Soul” will be warmly embraced as a comeback project by global festival programmers, following its Competition premiere in Berlin.

It’s be a tougher sell, however, to international distributors — unless some vegan evangelicals in the market are seeking films to convert audiences to their cause. The film attacks viewers early on with what is surely the cinema’s most stomach-inverting scene of abattoir action since fellow Hungarian outlier “White God” three years ago: Máté Herbai’s camera observes with head-on, crystal-clear impassivity as a cow is yoked, stunned, beheaded, and industrially carved, dark blood spurting and pooling like prune juice. (“Some animals were harmed during filming, but none of them for the sake of this film,” the closing credits note diplomatically.) Audiences will be divided on the merits of this shock documentary maneuver in what is otherwise a film of gentle fragility, though it does illustrate one polar extreme in a story concerned with human cruelty and empathy at a range of levels.

On Body and Soul
On Body and Soul
On Body and Soul
On Body and Soul
On Body and Soul
On Body and Soul
On Body and Soul
On Body and Soul
On Body and Soul
On Body and Soul
Original title Testről és lélekről
IMDb Rating 7.6 17,587 votes
TMDb Rating 7.5 191 votes
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