Morosgovanyi (Csaba Czene) is an orderly to an exceedingly harsh lieutenant in the Hungarian military during the Second World War. Life is brutal so he spends time exploring his perversions (including sticking something flammable in his urethra) and fantasies (like getting a handjob from the Little Match Girl).
One of these fantasies—which turns into one of the more, shall we say, visceral scenes—has rather dire consequences.
But it leads to the second section of the film.
Around two decades or so later (no years are provided, but it’s the height of the Soviet era) the product of Morosgovanyi’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad decision, Kalman (Gergely Trocsanyi), is a champion speed-eater. His close friend is a top athlete as well and they are in competition for the affection of the same woman—the female champion speed-eater, Gizi (Adel Stanczel). Ah, love.
I won’t tell you who gets the girl, but a child is eventually born and that brings us to the final section of the film.
Which seems to be present day. Giving the audience dates is so over, apparently.
The child of the union, Lajoska (Marc Bishoff) is grown. Unlike his parents the speed-eaters, he’s pale and painfully thin. He’s also a taxidermist—every space in his workshop covered with evidence of his trade. He even carries a change purse made of something that used to be alive and appears to still have tiny feet attached. He is exceedingly awkward when talking to women.
Lajoska is the sort of person where, if he was discovered to be a serial killer, no one would be surprised.
He looks after his father, who is now so gargantuan he can’t stand up and who keeps three show cats behind a locked gate, as they are only fed butter and are starving for meat.
After a client comes into his workshop asking for a mount of something unusual, Lajoska changes. He fights with his father with tragic consequences, which has a knock on effect, leading to one hell of an ending.
I owe the Wikipedia article (spoilers ahoy there) much gratitude for helping me understand this film—apparently it’s a ‘metaphorical retelling of Hungary’s history from the Second World War to the present day.’
In which case—Christ, Hungary.
Technically and artistically it’s excellent. Writing, acting, directing, all outstanding. The visual and practical effects were great.
It’s difficult to categorise this one. It’s comedy, drama and horror. Specifically body horror. So, you know. Be aware.
If you liked/could stomach The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, then I would definitely recommend this one. I really enjoyed it, but it’s certainly not for everyone. And it was easier to follow than pretty much any Peter Greenaway film.
I want to show it to everyone who could take it right now. That’s how much I liked it. But:
This film is NOT for vegans or vegetarians. I really cannot stress that enough. I’m pretty sure that was a for real pig slaughter in the first section. In the third segment there is a fairly protracted sequence of up close taxidermy on what is probably a pig. And I mean Up. Close.
Also not for people who just can’t deal with viscera.
Also… I think Morosgovanyi is having sex with the slaughtered pig? It’s hard to say with him. Pretty sure he is, though.
Warning for people who are emetophobic. Don’t. The entire middle section of this film would need to be avoided. It’s clearly a visual effect, but that won’t matter if it’s an actual phobia for you.
There’s a scene where Morosgovanyi has a little girl (8 or 9 years old) put her hand in his jacket/trousers in his fantasy.
Why is this kinky? Morosgovanyi is a voyeur who likes playing with fire (touching it to his skin/mouth/dick). He also likes putting his dick in icy water. He jerks it a lot. That’s not kinky. He just does.
There’s what looks like actual sex during one scene, but it all goes to hell pretty quickly so it’s not hot. Well, it’s probably hot to someone. Everything’s hot to someone.
If you’ve seen this, please let me know. I would love to hear other opinions/comments. But, for god’s sake, don’t watch it if it will be traumatising.
5/5 Must-watch if you’re up for it.
0/5 STAY AWAAAAAY if any of the warnings above apply.