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On Body and Soul (2017)

Teströl és lélekröl (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Fantasy, Romance | 2 February 2018 (USA)
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When slaughterhouse workers Endre and Mária discover they share the same dreams - where they meet in a forest as deer and fall in love - they decide to make their dreams come true but it's difficult in real life.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 16 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Géza Morcsányi ... Endre (as Morcsányi Géza)
... Mária
Zoltán Schneider ... Jenö
Ervin Nagy ... Sanyi
Tamás Jordán ... Mária's doctor
Zsuzsa Járó ... Zsuzsa
Réka Tenki ... Klára
Júlia Nyakó ... Rózsi
Itala Békés ... Zsóka
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Éva Bata ... Köves Jutka
Zsófi Bódi ... Piroska
Hanna Csata ... Kissing girl
István Dankó ... Salesman (cd store)
Annamária Fodor ... Saleswoman (telephone store)
Attila Fritz ... Peti
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Storyline

On the outskirts of Budapest, the ageing recluse, Endre, is the reserved and saturnine manager of a small abattoir, who is used to hiding his disabled left arm along with his emotions behind a busy schedule. And then, unexpectedly, the loner's eye is caught by a shy and graceful newcomer in the office; the young Mária, the plant's cryptic and glacially beautiful quality-control inspector. Strange as it may seem, the slaughterhouse will provide the unorthodox background for a timid affair between the tender outcasts, who, even though they seem to be polar opposites, a small theft within the company's walls will prove that those two definitely share an eerie and almost spiritual bond. However, are the two dreamers, Endre and Mária, ready to embrace the catharsis of love on both body and soul? Written by Nick Riganas

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Drama | Fantasy | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

2 February 2018 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

On Body and Soul  »

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2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

On Body and Soul (2017) is director Ildikó Enyedi's first feature film in 18 years. See more »

Crazy Credits

Closing credits: "Some animals were harmed during filming, but none of them for the sake of this film..." See more »

Connections

Referenced in Filmbarátok Podcast: Episode #1.138 (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

What He Wrote
Written and Performed by Laura Marling
Courtesy of Ribbon Records
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User Reviews

 
an invigorating comeback of Hungarian filmmaker Ildikó Enyedi
20 November 2017 | by See all my reviews

ON BODY AND SOUL is an invigorating comeback of Hungarian filmmaker Ildikó Enyedi, her first feature film in 18 years which stimulatingly dances away with the Golden Bear in Berlin.

The plot can be basically boiled down as follows: when a lonely man meets a lonely woman, how the pair fumbles to build an authentic connection without forfeiting their individuality, because both are crippled in very different terms, for a middle-aged Endre (Morcsányi), it is his corporal handicap, a liability which might explain why he is a singleton, but for the young Maria (Borbély), her condition is far more unusual and intriguing, she seems to be stuck in a limbo of emotionally arrested development, equipped with no social skills, and eschews human contact of any sort, but in accordance with the less unconventional "idiot savant" trope, she is also endowed with a preternatural power of memory, which might fairly explain her credentials as a quality inspector, newly appointed to work in Endre's abattoir, where he assumes the job as the chief financial officer.

Despite of its well-trodden narrative arc, ON BODY AND SOUL refreshingly channels a mystical dream-reality correlation between the two protagonists, embodied in their shared dreamscape as a stag and a doe and through a subplot of psychological assessment, its earth-shattering revelation is comically underlined by Klára (a voluptuous Réka Tenki and an uncanny Jennifer Lawrence doppelgänger), the psychiatrist who is in a snit of believing that she has been taken for a ride (indeed, comical elements are friskily deployed throughout). It is this paranormal tie-in propels their bonding in motion, which reverberates as a sobering call, how could these two isolated souls even start a tentative gesture if there were no such beggar belief fabrication to break the humongous glacier between them, one must venerate Enyedi for her keen insight of the intrinsic difficulty apropos of human interactions, and her diligent craftsmanship of balancing the dream- reality dyad with an intimate but non-judgmental outlook amid the film's gorgeous imagery.

It is still a bumpy road ahead after that, not least for the tabula-rosa Maria, who really steps out of her comfort zone and out on a limb to prepare herself for the ineluctable carnal ritual, but at the same time, her gawkiness sends many a wrong signal to an increasingly frustrated Endre, who is self-aware of their gaping age difference and dubious of his own potency. When the crunch comes Enyedi doesn't flinch from radically bringing a splurge of red into play, even if it offends the squeamish, which is not dissimilar with the slaughterhouse mise-en-scène, viewers are impelled to stare at pain and gore vis-à-vis, because cruelty is the staple among human beings, whether we (sometimes even obliviously) cast it on our own kind or lesser beings.

The two leading performances are of high caliber, dramaturgist Géza Morcsányi is well at ease with Endre's resigned, contemplative demeanor tinged with a smidgen of sophistication, whereas a doe-eyed (no puns intended!) Alexandra Borbély is simply mesmerizing to hold our attention from stem to stern, often appears like an ethereal creature with her impassive lineaments, and registers her unaffected agenda at the same time in pinpoint economy.

Mournfully honed in Laura Marling's WHAT HE WROTE, the thematic dirge bewitches Maria and audience alike, ON BODY AND SOUL reaches its crescendo with a hard-earned happy ending, when magic dissipates, a new lease on life is inaugurated, which could be also read as a herald of Enyedi's own future, career-wise. In fact, she is a few years younger than Géza Morcsányi in real life, so guaranteed by this fascinating love story, her next offering looks pretty buoyant, with only one proviso, the waiting time must be significantly pared down, an 18-year hiatus is an egregious waste of her talent.


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