György Pálfi – Taxidermia (2006)

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A strange young man takes his family’s long tradition of bizarre behavior to new heights (or depths) in this wildly perverse and explicit horror comedy from director Gyorgi Palfi. Kalman Balatony (Gergo Trocsanyi) is a grotesquely fat gentleman who was fathered by an angry hospital orderly getting revenge on his boss by having sex with his wife. While the embittered husband killed the orderly when he was caught in the act, Kalman was born as a result of the wife’s indiscretion, and when he grows to adulthood he earns a modest fame as a competitive eating champion. At an eating contest, Kalman meets a female competitor, the freakish Gizi (Adel Stanczel), and the two fall in love. Kalman and Gizi marry, and she gives birth to a son, Lajos (Marc Bischoff), who grows up to be just as skinny as his parents are fat. Lajos studies taxidermy and takes up preserving animals as a career when he isn’t busy taking care of his elderly and increasingly massive father. Lajos also raises a handful of unusually large house cats, and when they begin to turn on their master, Lajos uses his talents to keep them around the house without the danger of their bothering anyone. Taxidermia received its North American premier at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival. Continue reading

Benedek Fliegauf – Rengeteg AKA Forest (2003)

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Hungarian director Benedek Fliegauf makes his feature-length debut with Rengeteg (Forest). Shot on digital video, the episodic film is composed of a series of seven different intimate parts bookended by footage of the same people in a large public space. These characters aren’t given an introduction, context, or even character names. Cinematographer Zoltan Lovasi shoots the ensemble cast of non-actors exclusively in close-ups, so the larger situation is never made completely clear. Each segment involves a small group of people in some kind of intense and possibly disturbing conversation. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, All Movie Guide” Continue reading

István Szabó – Hanussen (1988)

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A man’s story parallels Hitler’s rise. Austrian Klaus Schneider, wounded in World War I, recovers in the care of Dr. Emil Bettleheim. Bettleheim discovers that Schneider possesses powers of empathy and of clairvoyance, such that could aid suicidal patients. After the war, with one friend as his manager and another as his lover, Schneider changes his name to Eric Jan Hanussen and goes to Berlin, as a hypnotist and clairvoyant performing in halls and theaters. He always speaks the truth, which brings him to the attention of powerful Nazis. He predicts their rise (good propaganda for them) and their violence (not so good). He’s in pain and at risk. What is Hanussen’s future? Continue reading

Márta Mészáros – Örökbefogadás AKA Adoption (1975)

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The film zeroes in on two women: Kata, older and widowed, and Anna, a downtrodden young women kept in a children’s institution by her unloving parents. Her own sense of self-value strengthened by an unhappy love affair (she realizes that all fault lay with the man), Kata helps free Anna from her family’s influence. Anna gets married, while Kata adopts a child from the institution where Anna had previously dwelled. A winner of several film awards in its country of origin, The Adoption was directed by Marta Meszaros, the wife of renowned Hungarian filmmaker Miklos Jancso. — Hal Erickson Continue reading

Lívia Gyarmathy – Ismeri a szandi mandit? AKA Do you know szandi mandi? (1969)

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Juli (Ilona Schuetz) is a 17-year-old student who takes a summer job in a local chemical factory.
She is befriended by Piri (Adit Soos), a girl with an unsavory reputation who has worked there
before. The two friends are ogled by male workers who have overactive libidos and imaginations.
Juli spurns the advances of a deluded Romeo while Piri continues to work and endure open hostility
from the older female workers while her slothful parents sink deeper into alcoholism. The title
is taken from a popular Hungarian song. Continue reading

Kornél Mundruczó – Jupiter holdja AKA Jupiter’s Moon (2017)

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A young immigrant is shot down while illegally crossing the border. Terrified and in shock, wounded Aryan can now mysteriously levitate at will. Thrown into a refugee camp, he is smuggled out by Dr Stern, intent on exploiting his extraordinary secret. Pursued by enraged camp director Laszlo, the fugitives remain on the move in search of safety and money. Inspired by Aryan’s amazing powers, Stern takes a leap of faith in a world where miracles are trafficked for small change. Continue reading