Taxidermia (Gyorgy Palfi, 2006)

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Move over Gasper Noe, hello Gyorgy Palfi.  I don’t remember reacting so viscerally to a film since Requiem for a Dream.  I read somewhere that the film was a metaphor for post-war Hungary.  I won’t even try to figure that one out.  The three part film covers three generations of Hungarian male protagonists: 1) a hair-lipped military orderly from WWII times that has a sexual fetish for eating fire and masturbating in the most unique ways, 2) his son a champion speed eater, the competitions of which are the cornerstone of the film and 3) a desperately lonely taxidermist that is also the caregiver of his now comically obese champion speed eating father.  I watched the entire film with my mouth agape not quite believing what I was seeing.  Among other things:  1) watch large speed eaters compete then group vomit in very prolonged scenes, 2) watch a drop of sweat from an obese woman’s hairy armpit drip onto her husband’s face while he licks it up and 3) watch the first time in film that a rooster pecks a cock (not another bird mind you).  All this being said there are amazing visual sequences throughout and extraordinary things that happen under the most astonishing cinematography – mostly extremely grotesque.  Furthermore, the romance between the speed eater and his wife is surprisingly sweet and funny.  But unless you have sat through, liked and/or tolerated extreme films like Gasper Noe’s Irreversible, Takashi Miike’s Audition or more recently Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist, DO NOT watch this film.  It is extremely disturbing and the 3rd and final act is indescribably repulsive.  But given its stunning originality and its ability to pull off the darkest of comedy I otherwise recommend the film.

**** / *****

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