On Body and Soul (2017)

Opinion & writing by Tony Frame

On Body and Soul is a Hungarian film about two strangers who work in a slaughterhouse and have the same dream at night about being wild deer who are attracted to one another.

It’s a slow-moving film, simple enough in its premise, but executed with patience and good direction in articulating what’s not being said just as much as what actually is being said.

Images courtesy of IMDB

Czechoslovakian actress Alexandra Borbély plays the newly appointed supervisor at the factory who shares the same dreams as the fifty-something disabled manager (Géza Morcsányi), a man who is reservedly quiet and has pretty much cut himself off from the rest of the world outside of his workplace.

These two introverts, who on the surface appear mis-matched, eventually begin to come together when they find out that they share the same dream.

Images courtesy of IMDB

What unfolds is a complex character study predominantly of Borbély’s uptight and seemingly prudish and dis-associative behaviour which, although never revealed, I concluded was characteristics of her being on the autistic spectrum.

It’s a love story at heart, albeit an unconventional one, and Borbély’s performance of someone with autism is done with such tact that I have never seen a portrayal like it before.

Kudos also has to be given to writer and director ldikó Enyedi for bringing this depiction of her character to the screen, it certainly opened my eyes as to how autism effects people and how they perceive the reality they live in.

Overall I found the film surprising in a few places and I was fascinated as to where it was going. The only negative point would be that I felt the film lacked some music in a few scenes which would have elevated the mood.

Image courtesy of IMDB

Is it a film I would watch again? Probably not, but that’s not to take anything away from it, it’s just my preference as I believe that some films are best left to have been viewed just once, that way they have a more profound effect on you.

For those looking for a high-brow foreign language film to whet their appetite then you wouldn’t be hard done by for checking out On Body and Soul which is currently streaming on MUBI.

Director: Ildikó Enyedi

Writer: Ildikó Enyedi

Stars: Alexandra BorbélyGéza Morcsányi, Réka Tenki | See full cast & crew »

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