Monday, February 12, 2018

Movie with Abe: On Body and Soul

On Body and Soul
Directed by Ildikó Enyedi
Released February 2, 2018

There are so many factors that keep people from finding the one that they’re supposed to be with, and plenty who don’t believe that there’s one particular person out there for them. They might cross paths for the briefest of moments, and if they don’t seize the opportunity to meet and pursue a relationship, it could be lost forever. Sometimes, circumstances bring people together but for any number of reasons, they don’t even look at each other in a way that could be perceived as romantic or capable of leading to any true contact. Those dynamics are often the most intriguing since the path to an unlikely bond usually takes an interesting road.

Endre (Géza Morcsányi) handles finances for a slaughterhouse, and he doesn’t find new quality inspector Mária (Alexandra Borbély) to be a worthwhile addition to his facility, as she immediately ruffles feathers with her antisocial attitude and angers the other workers by sticking to strict regulations and grading the meat they produce stringently. When a theft occurs and a psychologist conducts interviews to determine who committed it, Endre and Mária are astonished to discover that they have had the same dream, a trend that continues and inspires them to consider whether they have much more in common than they think.

This film begins by showing two lonely people leading extremely ordinary, unfulfilling lives. Unable to use a crippled arm, Endre cannot work with his hands in the slaughterhouse and instead serves in a supervisory role that doesn’t require him to actually be on the floor. Mária, who has an impeccable memory that forces her to remember everything, isn’t skilled at human contact and doesn’t present as wanting to make any friends. The strange coincidence of their shared dream, which the psychologist angrily believes to be a joke at her expense, helps to show them that perhaps they’re not as alone in the world as they believe.

This film, which is Hungary’s first Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Film since “Son of Saul” won two years ago, is an affirming and different kind of love story, one that finds its main characters dreaming of themselves as deer and spending each night together. Its quieter moments – and there are many – prove effective, and they’re amplified by strong lead performances from both Morcsányi and Borbély, who portray their respective characters as people who would prefer to be alone only because they haven’t found someone with whom they can share their lives without having to put on an act. It’s an endearing, visually pleasing, and sweet story that serves as a fine representation of international cinema, available in the United States on Netflix for a wide audience to stream.


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