Review: On Body and Soul – Testrol és lélekröl (2017)

On Body and Soul – Testrol és lélekröl (2017)

Directed by: Ildikó Enyedi | 116 minutes | drama | Actors: Géza Morcsányi, Alexandra Borbély, Zoltán Schneider, Ervin Nagy, Tamás Jordán, Zsuzsa Járó, Réka Tenki, Júlia Nyakó, Itala Békés, Éva Bata, Zsófi Bódi, Attila Fritz, Ábel Galambos, Barkaynab

During the day, Mária and Endre are colleagues in an abattoir. Endre is financial director, Mária is quality controller. When night falls, the two become a love couple. Then they go out to have a drink together, to stomp through the snow and to rub their noses together. And when they are hungry, they pick a fresh plant from the ground to nibble on.

Fresh plant? From the ground? If you want to understand that, you should know that Mária and Endre dream about each other every night, without them even knowing it. In the dream, they are two deer wandering through a snowy forest. During the day they hardly have any contact with each other, although there is attraction from the start. The lack of communication is due to Mária’s autistic traits, she resembles a dreamy sister of Saga Norén from The Bridge. When one day a company psychologist screens the employees of the abattoir, Mária and Endre discover their shared dream world.

This original story makes for one of the best movies of 2017. ‘On Body and Soul’ cannot be pinned down to one genre, because it contains everything. It is as much a romantic comedy as it is a gripping psychodrama. Sometimes it is a fairy tale, then again a nasty confrontation with the daily routine in an abattoir. But above all it is about that which binds us: love, humanity and desire.

‘On Body and Soul’ is a masterful aptitude. Acting, dialogue, humor and photography, it’s all of a high standard. Sometimes a single comment is enough for the writers to show proportions. Like when Endre’s daughter comes over and she apparently doesn’t know he’s quit smoking for four years. A scene where several characters enjoy the rising sun is sufficient to show our fundamental connection. The humor is well dosed and just not at the expense of the characters, like in a scene in a CD shop where Mária wants to discover music. Which takes a bit of time.

Despite the bizarre, the film never becomes vague, at most unpredictable. It is sometimes difficult for animal lovers, the images in the abattoir are not always fresh. Still, it’s great that you can still tell a love story so original, moving, sensual and compelling. Thick, strong recommendation.

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