Review: Taxidermia (2006, Regent Releasing)




Category: Anthology(?), Arthouse/Experimental, Body Horror, Dark Fantasy
Directed by:
György Pálfi

Written by: György Pálfi, Zsófia Ruttkay, Lajos Parti Nagy
Starring: A lot of people
Music: Amon Tobin, Albert Márkos
Cinematography: Gergely Pohárnok

I’ve seen a lot of weird movies but this has got be up there on the list. This Hungarian film from György Pálfi lies somewhere between dark comedy, quirky drama, and a horror film. It’s a tale of Hungarian history presented through the story of three generations of men with all sorts of political undertones lying beneath the story. I really don’t know much of anything about the history of Hungary but this guy on imdb does.

The first story focuses on Morosgoványi Vendel, an orderly in the Hungarian military circa WWII. He lives a menial life beneath Lieutenant Öreg Balatony Kálmán basically performing peasant labor. He lives in a crappy hut where he escapes his shit life via fantasies and strange sexual acts. The second story regards Vendel’s son Balatony Kálmán who, under the tutelage of  a man named Jenő, trains to be a successful speed-eater during Cold-War era Hungary in hopes that the sport will be world famous in the near future. Fellow speed-eater Aczél Gizi gives birth to the next protagonist, Balatony Lajoska. Lajoska is a talented taxidermist in modern day Hungary who must care for his morbidly obese, cruel father and his cats.

The look and tone reminds of Jean-Pierre Jeunet/Marc Caro films Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children (which are both fantastic by the way), using similar color schemes and utilizing that dark atmosphere.  It also reminds of Terry Gilliam’s films in the respect that the characters are very exaggerated and the quirky, dark comedy aspect. One of the greatest look scenes is when Vendel opens up a pop-up book and begins to navigate the paper landscapes. The acting is great all across the board, you totally get sucked into this universe. The soundtrack, done by experimental electronic music artist Amon Tobin, is fantastic as well. I actually found this film looking up Amon Tobin after I stumbled upon one of his concerts.

If you’re into artsy films then I would totally check this out. There are some disturbing scenes like a man copulating with a pig carcass, lots of genitals, bodily fluids, and cartoonishly obese speed-eaters mowing down some gnarly looking stuff, so be prepared for that. If you’re looking for an incredibly unique, genre-bending film then this might be for you.





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