In Hungary's post-World War I depression era, a wanted one-eyed killer and retired gendarme lieutenant fells in love with a suicidal and disillusioned harlot. In hope of much-needed money, he seeks out one of his old cronies, a now wealthy butcher and businessman, to collect a debt. Tensions are running high as an eternal triangle is about to take shape between the butcher, the harlot and the one-eyed cutthroat.Written by
Hands down, the best film I saw, on the very last day, was the Hungarian entry by veteran János Szász entitled "The Butcher, The Whore, and the One-Eyed Man", 2017. Let not this somewhat ponderous title put one off. TBTW&TOEM or "A hentes, a kurva és a félszemü" (original Hungarian title) Is another dark masterpiece by a meticulous director who does not make many films but when he does come up with one it is usually a memorable Magyar cinema landmark. Mr. Szász, now 59, has directed a grand total of only eleven films since 1983 but has nevertheless amassed a rock solid filmography that includes such international art house hits as "Woyceck", 1994, "Witman fiúk 1997, "Opium, Diary of a Mad Woman" (2007) and "The Notebook" 2013.
The current Szasz opus, filmed in stark black and white, by regular Szász cameraman Tibor Maté , is the bizarre tale of a greedy butcher who got butchered by a runaway renegade couple who, after sawing his corpse up with the tools of his slaughterhouse trade, dumped the hunks of human flesh and bone into the Danube. Based on an actual gruesome crime that shook Budapest up in 1925 this is another masterful probe into psychopathic psychology by the man who has written the Hungarian book on this subject with unerring directorial aplomb.
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