Parasite

Bong Joon Ho is a pretty big deal right now in the Korean cinema world. His last two movies before Parasite were Okja (which was a big deal at the time to be on Netflix) and Snowpiercer (the best film about apocalyptic train rides ever made).

His film Parasite has been hitting big waves and, before I saw it, the word on the street was I needed to know as little as possible going into the movie.

And you know, so I watched it and wrote a review on it so I could tell you about it! For shame!

poor
Spoilers: It features Koreans!

The Kim family is living in rough times. Both parents (Hye-jin Jang, Kang-ho Song) are out of work. The two kids (So-dam Park, Woo-sik Choi) are adults, but haven’t got jobs either, weren’t able to make it to college, and they all exist in a shitty below the street house where they mooch off of free WiFi and find out ways to make money.

I mean, shit, the economy is tough. Hundreds of people are graduating and can’t get jobs, so what are the chances of an older couple? They can only do odd jobs or con people.

The good news is, our boy has a gracious friend who is about to study abroad. And he wants to recommend him for his job of tutoring a local family’s oldest daughter English. He is qualified, even if they have to flub parts of it, but it ins’t super bad at that point.

However, once he has an in with the family, he realizes he can lie and get his other family members into jobs for additional sources of income. And from then on? Well, things just get really weird.

Also starring Hyun-jun Jung, Myeong-hoon Park, Jeong-eun Lee, Sun-kyun Lee, Ji-so Jung, and Yeo-jeong Jo.

documents
Paper is for losers, give me the recommendations!

Parasite is over two hours long, and at times feels like it is way longer and shorter. I felt so hooked only 10 minutes into the movie, and at that point, very little had actually happened. By 30 minutes into the film, it is clear some bigger plot is afoot. After an hour, it was like a train wreck, and I was shocked. And after about 75 minutes, I couldn’t believe that there was still so much more movie to go.

Where could it go from the pits it dragged me to? How could this story ever resolve?

Parasite is an unpredictable romp through class warfare, cons, and dirty little secrets. It is about what lengths one will go to in order to protect their family. It is about the little things in life, and how people perceive events.

It is about so many things, it is so hard to define and feels like the sort of film people will watch for decades to explore various themes. I loved this movie, and it is hard to find any real thoughts with the wild story that is told. It is not necessarily a film we need now, but by golly, I will take it and run with it.

4 out of 4.

Never Look Away

Never Look Away is a foreign film I would have never noticed if it wasn’t nominated for Oscars. Not only one Oscar, Foreign Film, but also Cinematography.

So I decided to watch this one in theaters instead of Happy Death Day 2U (which is getting good reviews?). I pulled into the lobby a good 30 minutes before showtime, not really sure what to expect, and then after I pulled out my phone to see the rough plot outline, I was shocked. Aghast. The run time of this movie is 3 hours and 6 minutes.

There is nothing wrong with a long run time. It is just something that you should know about before going into it. I was prepared for The Wolf of Wall Street, and Lincoln. I had napped ahead of time. But this is a time when I had nothing to help me keep myself awake or get going.

So instead I just ran around for 30 minutes hyping myself up. A film about art and Nazis does not usually seem like one that you would “hype” up about. And that explains why I went into the film like a strange excited little man.

Art1
Art! Paintings! Nazis! Annnnd MURDER!

When Kurt Barnert (Tom Schilling) was a young lad, he lived with his extended family outside of the city of Dresden. It is the 1940’s, art is shunned if it isn’t realistic, and he wants to draw. He takes a liking to his free spirited aunt, Elisabeth May (Saskia Rosendahl) who teaches him to look for the truth in things, to live, to see the injustices around him.

And then she is eventually killed in a gas chamber. Not for being Jewish, but for having bad genes, schizophrenia they say, and they can’t let that pass on. Sucks!

Eventually Kurt grew up, still into art, and now Germany having lost the war. Germany is also split up, with him on the Eastern side, not yet a physical barrier to separate them. He gets into art school, learns to make murals and perfect realistic portraits and hates his life. This isn’t art. This isn’t important.

He needs to get to the west, to find out love, and truth, and beauty. Then he can maybe unlock his real potential.

Also starring Paula Beer, Sebastian Koch, Oliver Masucci, and Hanno Koffler.

Art2
Sure is a lot of pictures in this movie of a guy doing art. What a surprise!

This film is supposed to be a biography, except there is no artist named Kurt Barnert who fits the story. How can that be!?

It it actually based on the life of Gerhard Richter, who has similarities with the plot and the major paintings by the end, but it seems like Richter didn’t want this story to happen. Here is a really long article about it. It didn’t come out as inspired by a true story, but it is better to put this as a fictional story and just pretend it is all made up. Inspired by World War II, then we don’t have to worry about accuracy.

And this is a story that goes hard in a lot of ways. They show a lot, death, nakedness, and the struggles of art. It is a film about finding your true passions, and made with a lot of passion. I ended up having to run out to pee at some point (its long, remember), and was surprised it had already been over 2 hours. It didn’t drag in the slightest. A film about not the most exciting topics ended up being really entertaining.

It was about love. Achieving success. And not necessarily about revenge, but overcoming demons certainly.

A really strong film, but one I definitely won’t see again, for the obvious reasons.

3 out of 4.

Burning

I have been really behind on my foreign films this year. I can’t even think of what I have seen with mostly subtitles this year. Not including the beginning of the year when I was hitting up last years Oscar nominees. Basically, it would have been during WorldFest, when I was in a theater with them, and that was in April. I legit haven’t watched a foreign film since April, and that kind of blows my mind.

I know there has been opportunities, but a lot of it comes from my inability to cross stitch while watching a foreign film, lest I don’t really get anything out of it. But I took an exception to Burning for a few reasons. One, a lot of people were talking about it and I wanted to talk about it. Two, it seemed like one of those foregone conclusions of definitely an award winning film. And three, Steven Yeun.

Yes, don’t let star power be a bad factor. Yeun was on The Walking Dead, I liked him on that show, and now I want to see him in a purely non American film. What’s the harm in that?

Field
Burning is a metaphor for his feelings. Inside.

Lee Jong-su (Ah-In Yoo) is a young man, trying to just live his life. He works odd jobs mostly, and would like to be a writer, he is just having a hard time writing. His dad is in prison and could get out if he was nicer and apologized, but he is holding firm. So Jong-su has to watch over the farm, their one animal, and just make sure life doesn’t fall to pieces, while trying to get his own life back on track.

And then he meets Shin Hae-mi (Jong-seo Jeon). Well, re-meets technically. Apparently Hae-mi knew him when he was a child, but he mostly ignored her. They have a past that Jong-su just doesn’t remember a lot of, and if Hae-mi’s story is true, then it totally makes sense. He ignored her, he might have been mean, and she got some plastic surgery.

Needless to say, they hit it off! And she is about to go away and needs someone to feed her cat. Oh. Sure. Because she is attractive, likes him(?), and he has only the other major things going on in his life. When she gets back, they might start a relationship.

Except she comes back…with him. His name is Ben (Steven Yeun), he is rich, mysterious, totally cool. A “Great gatsby” character in South Korea. And she has fallen for him. But Ben has secrets, secrets that Jong-su is going to investigate, or else bad things might happen. Maybe even Burning things might happen.

Group
I don’t know, they just kind of look like best friends here.

Burning is a (heh) slow burn of a film, coming in at about 2.5 hours. It is very slow moving, and its direction can seem to be all over the place. But if you focus the film on just Jong’su’s point of view and trying to understand the strange world around him, the mysteries and suspense add up.

It is a gorgeous movie with very notable camera work. It isn’t displaying the sexy parts of South Korea, but regular fields and cities, but it has extreme attention to detail and really draws the viewer into the movie.

The ending very much ends at a climax, a climax that people will feel like might never come. Because unfortunately, some mysteries remain mysteries by the films end. And that is likely to trouble some viewers, given what we saw from Lost backlash some time ago. No actual spoilers though here.

Ah-In Yoo is a great lead, while still keeping that passive unsure nature. Yeun was fine in this movie, but I don’t think it required a lot of hard work on his part. This is Jeon’s only movie, and she plays the free spirited and weird quite well, and hopefully gains an acting feature after this film.

Overall, Burning won’t be for everyone. You have to want subtitles and be okay with not everything spelled out for you. It will likely make waves from the foreign film market, and will still likely lose to Roma for Oscars.

3 out of 4.

Greetings from Krampus

This is one of the many reviews that have come out of WorldFest in Houston. Check the WorldFest tag to see them all!

The idea of Krampus, coming from a humble American, is fascinating. An evil Santa Clause? A beast that steals away naughty kids? Why worry about coal when your goddamn life can be on the line?

That is about as much as I really know about the idea. It was flirted with a bit in Rare Exports, we recently had the horror-comedy Krampus as well. It seems Krampus fever is hitting America stronger than ever, and we are eating it up.

Needless to say, I was very excited to be watching Greetings From Krampus, a documentary from the Austrian area, an actual source on their customs and belief of Krampus. How it has grown through the tiny villages and the national phenomenon that has grown for many to have a worthwhile sort of career in it as well.

Krampus
Horny little buggers they are.

It turns out there is a lot I didn’t know about Krampus. Exciting! Did you know there were a lot of creatures like Krampus, that are not Krampus, but come out at the same time as Krampus? Krampus is basically a demonic pet of St. Nicholas. But they also have the Perchten, which are other humanoid esque creatures. And basically, they get weeks of celebration after the Krampus.

But for the most part, these things are celebrated with Krampus Run events. First of all, to get rid of all the past shenanigans where people would dress up and cause problems, the Krampus ideas were outlawed for some time. Only the ruralist villages still did it. But they had official troops who would get together, have rules, to dress up and do appropriate mischief for the holidays, and not just any weirdo in a mask. That way they have some form of checks and balance!

Anyways, basically each villages has a troupe, with some amount of members, to dress up, make their own costumes and masks and rules and funds as a part time job. They travel to these different Runs, where there could be 60-80 different troupes going through a special path while onlookers cheer and get spanked and whatever.

A huge event, many of them all in a few week span, while the rest of the time is spent making sure Krampus awareness happens. Like teaching kids that Krampus isn’t real and to know its a person in there and NOT use it as a tool to frighten kids into behaving.

Overall, there is a lot of useful information in this movie. However, what it lacks on is the lore itself. It does talk about it some, but I thought it would go a lot more into the lore aspects of it. This is basically Krampus Run, the movie. We see so many clips of them, and groups talking about them and their traditions. It is extremely repetitive, especially when it goes back to topics they covered 40 minutes prior.

Cool information, very unique, just not diverse enough and easily boring in the last half hour as you wonder how much longer it will be until finished.

2 out of 4.

Trouble Makers (Xiongdi, bie nao!)

This is one of the many reviews that have come out of WorldFest in Houston. Check the WorldFest tag to see them all!

I am happy to say that I chose Trouble Makers (Xiongdi, bie nao!) at the festival. I was debating between it and another movie, and looking for anything to tell me why I should pick one or the other. The description of a sentence look looked humorous, and the fact that it involved twins that didn´t look like twins just made it seem like a comedy. But my book listed it as a modern drama.

So it was between a Chinese Modern Drama, and a Turkish War Drama, which definitely wasn´t funny.

And I am glad I chose this one, because like I imagined, it was actually a comedy and the genre was just wrong. I just wanted to laugh, damn it.

Bros
Especially laugh at others misfortunes.

Zheng Hao (Xiaopan Gao) is a bit of a bad ass. He is a criminal, he is a thief, he has been to jail, and he doesn´t give a fuck. He only gives one fuck, actually. And that is about his brother, Zheng Zhong (Xianchao You). His twin brother, although they don´t look too similar. Some issues with child birth. Zhong is a bit slower, but he is protective of his smaller brother, the brains of the operation.

Either way, Hao finds himself in hot shit after leaving prison when he immediately causes a lot of destruction and has to pay it back.

The good news is that a local station has an idea for a new reality show! It is about bad guys wanting to become good. If they can turn their lives around, get forgiveness, right their wrongs, and do good things (please!) then they will win a big cash prize. Enough to pay off his new debts, and hey, money yo.

So sure, they will put in the effort to do good things, at least originally just for the money. But then Hao starts to fall for the very pretty worker who is putting on the show, Xia Tian Fan (Shasha Yu). It helps. But being good is hard, and they are going to have to change a lot to get better.

Also starring Sam Lee, Samuel Pang, Sky Li, Xi Chen, Ziming He, and Yu Tian as the Steve Perry looking director.

Bald
I mean he looks like Steve Perry when he has his wig completely on. Bald Steve Perry without it.

Trouble Makers was full of laughs, and they came on hard and strong. Sure, it ended on a serious note. Including an excessively long fight scene, but ended up right in the feels and morally strong.

The director is also the star of this movie, and he has officially directed and been in only one movie, this one. It is an extremely impressive feat for a first timer, and honestly, I feel like a liar just typing that out. It is truly hard to believe.

This is a slap stick movie, with subtle gags, non subtle gags, and sure, just pure misfortune going to our characters. It did have some other interesting aspects, like a scene where four clearly Chinese individuals were in brown make up to act like Indians. And you know what, I am not an expert on Chinese/Indian relationships, but I am sure that is totally fine, although it wouldn´t fly at all in America.

This film has a lot of energy and surprises, tackling its own satire on the reality television fads going across the world strong for some decades now.

3 out of 4.

The Insult

Finally, finally, finally! The final foreign film of the Oscars, The Insult, and yet I could not fit the review before the Oscars aired. I watched it before it aired, I wrote this review before it aired. It might have won! Hell if I know. I hope On Body and Soul wins but it is probably A Fantastic Woman, another solid choice (Edit: And it did).

This film is out of Lebanon, another first for me. I love hitting all of these countries around Asia and the middle east. Watch enough movies and you can get jaded about everything being so stupid in America, and forget that other countries are trying their own thing and telling their own unique stories. Enough stalling, here we go.

Court Drama
Oh, or, maybe, we should wait a second. Ponder the idea of film. Then watch it.

Tony Hanna (Adel Karam) is just a man trying to get by. He works, he lives in a shitty building, he has a wife (Rita Hayek jiiiiu), and she is pregnant, a girl coming along the way. He is Lebanese, and he is Christian, and he has a lot of strife with Palestinians coming over. You know the story. Refugees and immigrants coming over to take their jobs. A common tale everywhere.

Yasser Abdallah Salameh (Kamel El Basha) is a Palestinian construction worker, who does generally the right thing, and what he is told. When he finds out that Tony´s drain is all fucky and not working, he offers to fix it, Tony says no. Racism. Yasser does it anyways. And Tony flips his shit, destroying the work, because he said no. Yasser calls him a name, and thus, the argument begins.

Tony goes over Yasser´s head to make sure he could get an apology. But an apology never came. This led to more arguments, physical assaults, and hard tales. Eventually this lead to a real trial, causing a national sensation as both sides rile up their respective religious groups, bringing up memories of when they were at war with each other. Oh bother.

Also starring Kamel El Basha, Diamond Bou Abboud, Camille Salameh, Christine Choueiri, and Talal Jurdi.

Battleground
How bad can an insult re — holy shit is that a tank or armored vehicle?

I feel like a lot of foreign movies go a bit slower with their dialogue, knowing that they want to appease the American audience who will vote for Best Foreign Picture. If they go too fast, then the subtitles will fly across the screen, and maybe the critics won’t pay enough attention. Or even worse, turn it off. The Insult does not have these qualms at all. It is fast paced dialogue throughout. Arguments, legal and otherwise. The lawyers themselves are fun with their own added twists to the story.

If you are unfamiliar with Lebanon’s history, like most of you must be (hey, me too), then some parts will not make a lot of sense. Why are they so angry? The film references two real life events and how they affected the fictional characters on screen as part of their defenses for their actions, and it added a lot to the film. Hey, I knew nothing about Lebanon history, and now I can say I know a little. Learning is great.

Our main two actors are wonderful. Each have a lot of passion and/or stoicism (That’s right, I said it) throughout the film. They seem like real people. Extreme, real people, but real nonetheless.

The Insult is a swell movie. I didn’t expect a courtroom drama from Best Foreign Films, because most of the times they are just regular dramas. I love being surprised.

3 out of 4.

Loveless

Russia likes to make movies. I have seen quite a bit of Russian films over the years. Not as many as British films, but certainly more than Australian. Probably.

But if you asked me to name any director, I would have just made Russian noises, sneezed, and ran away. I literally know no names. I could only tell you some of the films.

Like Leviathan! It was nominated for Best Foreign Film a few years back. And apparently that director, Andrey Zvyagintsev, is a guy who also directed Loveless. Wow, multiple films in a few years up for Best Foreign Film. That has to be impressive.

And yes, I only accidentally found out this information. I would have easily gone on with my life thinking there was no overlap between the two, except for some fate.

Boy
The same fate that brought us this kid, who really hates his life.

Zhenya (Maryana Spivak) and Boris (Aleksey Rozin) are a typical couple in Russia. They have a son, Alyosha (Matvey Novikov), and they don’t love each other. Whoops. That might not be normal.

Boris has a good job, as a sales person in some big company. But the CEO is super Orthadox and would only hire people who were married with a family. People in his company don’t get divorced, because then they’d lose their job. These are things that can happen in Russia apparently. He is really putting off this divorce thing, despite the fact that BOTH of them have already moved on physically and emotionally by finding new lovers.

And he made his lover pregnant already.

Either way, with the arguing, the staying at other places, the two of them were not back at their “home” for almost two days, where they eventually found out that their son was not in school and had been gone for a couple of days. Holy shit. Time for panic, time for resources, time for putting their anger behind them. Even if they didn’t want the kid originally, they have to admit they need him now, right? Right?

Also starring Andris Keiss and Marina Vasileva.

Whoa
Time to sensually look out this window, naked, to look for their son.

Loveless is a bleak film. You can tell it from the name. Hell, you can probably tell from the Russian name, Nelybov, without knowing the language. This is not some zany film about a kidnapping that brings the parents back together to find each other and end their strife. Hell no, this is stressful as fuck and does nothing for repairing the damages that had already been done.

Sure, they can tolerate each other more, but that is just for the sake of hoping to find their son alive and not dead in a bag in an ally. It took awhile for the plot to get going, as they spent a lot of time about their relationship with their loves, and their general angst, before the boy disappears. But when he does disappear, it ramps up in various layers of story.

There are few side characters in the volunteer search and rescue unit and they just feel so goddamn professional. Not the police force who can’t help, but a group of people who just know how to find missing kids and have had plenty of training. I hope it is based off of a real group in Russia, because it was astounding. These scenes featured a lot of quick and intense dialogue and made me excited about kidnapped children.

Basically, this is a good movie, and Kidnap is not.

3 out of 4.

A Fantastic Woman

A Fantastic Woman is my third (third!) film reviewed for the upcoming Oscars, nominated for Best Foreign Film.

I first saw the trailer at the Alamo Drafthouse, and was intrigued by the plot line. It also had some good music. I knew I wanted to watch it for reasons other than the Oscars.

And I had honestly no idea going into it what the real main point of the plot was. I didn’t know what social barriers it was crossing, what “firsts” were happening when it came to the nominations, or how much of a big deal this film was. I didn’t even figure it out until 20 or 30 minutes into the movie!

And for that reason, I will discuss some of that information later.

Wind
That intro had a lot of hot air. Bitches love hot air?

Marina Vidal (Daniela Vega) is a lounge singer and a night life enthusiast. She is also in a long term relationship with Orlando (Francisco Reyes), a much older gentleman. He pays for everything, owns their apartment, and is in it for the wild ride.

Their relationship has put strains on Orlando’s family, but he doesn’t care because he finally feels happy. And Marina is not some gold digger waiting for a pay day, she really cares for him as well.

And then Orlando had to go and do that thing that old people do often. He died. Part of it involved falling down some stairs, so he has bruises. Her bringing him to the hospital comes with its own issues and suspicions. And when his family finds out, they quickly turn on her.

They don’t want her in the apartment much longer. They need his vehicle back. They don’t want her to go to the wake or the funeral.

Again, as this occurred, I really assumed it was just because she was younger, maybe a former prostitute or something. But in reality, it is just because she was a transwoman, they assume she is a perverted freak, and think she corrupted their ex lovers, their brother and their friend.

Ohhhhhhh. Oh. Yes. This changes everything.

Also starring Luis Gnecco, Aline Küppenheim, Nicolás Saavedra, and Amparo Noguera.

Blue
Now it makes sense why she was feeling extra blue.

When it comes to topical films that will carry a lot of emotion behind them, few people would look to Chile to carry that flag. Especially when it comes to casting a transwoman to play an actual transwoman. A lot of films are getting that criticism, like The Danish Girl, and Anything, which is maybe not even going to come out now. It is certainly a progressive move and one that really works well with this story.

I can also say that the film didn’t go out of its way to promote the fact that Vega was a transwoman, as I made it obvious earlier. It wasn’t using this fact as a sort of shocker, or a gimmick. This is just a story that a lot of people out there might relate to. The fact that is achieved some firsts when it comes to the Oscars is just a cool side note.

Vega is wonderful in this film. She has to carry most of the film on her shoulders, and deal with the fact that everyone basically hates her just for existing. The sighs, the glares, you can tell the character has dealt with it all before and that Vega herself knows how it feels. It is realistic, and it is sad.

Films are still working on getting transmen and transwomen into roles that have nothing to do with the fact that they are trans, but as we get there, this is a great look into just one person and may help people reconsider some of their bigoted views.

3 out of 4.

Birdboy: The Forgotten Children

Birdboy: The Forgotten Children will probably be the last animated film I see from 2017. That is, unless some anime film I missed comes out in April or Summer, all late in the United States.

This too was a foreign animated film, based on a graphic novel. It was originally released in Spain (and Spanish), but the version I watched was dubbed.

I knew nothing about the film going in, except that it might be weird. And unfortunately, that too was an understatement.

Others
Yay animals! Time for a cute film!

This film takes place on an Island, far away from other lands. It had a peaceful animal community, that could talk, sure. Things were good, until factories joined their island. Eventually, the factories have an accident and a big blast rips through their island, killing hundreds, destroying the buildings in that area, creating rubble. No good at all.

This leads the land changed. It makes it sad. It makes it just feel, dead.

The families are now bitter. Kids are being non conformists, animals are fighting, animals are killing. And everyone is just rude.

Poor Birdboy, lost his dad, and can´t even get back to his lighthouse home. There are demons in there, and he hasn´t yet mastered how to fly.

He has friends, namely Dinky, a female mouse, are the only ones who care about him. She cares about him a lot. With the help of a fox and a rabbit, the gang plan to escape off of the island in a boat, to get away from this place of dissidence and sadness. But the island does not want them to leave. Its citizens are too bitter to allow a thing such as hope help anyone.

The four are going to struggle and face their fears, which is unfortunate, because in this case their fears are very real and dangerous parts of society.

Featuring the voices of Barbara Goodson, Jon Avner, Sofia Bryant, Dean Flanagan, Marc Diraison, Wayne Grayson, Yuri Lowenthal, Jake Paque, and Alyson Leigh Rosenfeld.

Fly
Learning to fly is also, unfortunately, a dangerous and very consequence heavy fear.

Yeah, Birdboy was weird. It was also terrifying. It was gruesome. It was nothing like I expected.

The only thing I know to compare it to is Heavy Metal, but that is based on my incredibly limited knowledge on this sort of animated film. And Heavy Metal was more sexy. We also had Nerdland recently, that was graphic in its own ways. This one is graphic in that it involves kid animals, in a disgusting world, dealing with entities trying to kill them and kill each other. We have bulging eyes, red veins, abuse, drugs, everything that would negatively affect a society, rolled into one tiny island.

It is definitely not for the light of heart.

It is a sad movie, with not really a happy ending either. Sure, maybe some hope is derived from it, but it is just a movie that will tear at your heart. Not like a romance, but like a horror, tearing at your heart.

And also, it is very, very confusing. I assumed the graphic novel tells the story a bit better. But there are sequences in this movie out of order, not a lot of exposition, and when I left I just felt confused. I did Wikipedia the plot outline, which is thankfully very detailed. I recognized some events and some scenes and could imagine them all working together, but it is not very easy to do that on your first viewing.

I appreciate that Birdboy is incredibly dark. I appreciate that the artistic style really draws you in and spits you out. I also appreciate that it tried to do something new. But in the end, it was not a very coherent plot, hard to follow, and left me feeling more empty than anything at the end.

2 out of 4.

On Body and Soul

What comes from Hungary? Some lame jokes, some World War I starters, and that is about all I can think of from my America centrist point of view.

So hey, I was excited for them just for having a film nominated for Best Foreign Film. Dozens of countries every year submit a film and only five are ever chosen, and only one wins. If Hungary has a rich film history, I am unfortunately unaware of it. If I have reviewed a Hungarian film before, then I totally forgot about it (just checked, shit, they had Son of Saul and White God. Totally forgot which country. Good job, Hungary!).

And now they have On Body and Soul. And I am thankful for Netflix for buying this film up so that lame uncultured swine like myself can watch it before the Oscars, and not five months after the fact.

Sleep
This is the kinky way Hungarians sleep together.

Taking place in some in Hungary, I have to assume, we have a slaughterhouse. They do good work there. Or at least, they kill cows and sell that meat for money. People have jobs, people are not sad.

Endre (Géza Morcsányi) is the CFO of the place, and is pretty complacent with his life. He is old, he is stagnant, he has a small group of friends. And a new girl starts to work there, much younger. Her name is Mária (Alexandra Borbély) and she is the quality inspector. She checks the cows and makes sure they have the appropriate grade rankings based on, you know, cow stuff.

Endre tries to talk to her, but she is off putting. Mária is very autistic, including a perfect memory and loves precision, so she makes some people upset when she is giving cows a lower grade than normal for technically correct reasons.

After an event occurs at the shop, a psychiatrist (Réka Tenki) is brought in to ask everyone questions to determine who the most likely culprit is. She is the first to find out that Endre and Mária are sharing a dream, where they are deer in a wintry forest. This connection is brought up to them, and it is up to them to figure out what to do with this knowledge, if anything.

Deer
You know, just being a deer, doing deer stuff.

On Body and Soul was a very touching film. Not physically touching, given how much Mária hated physical contact (note: I really enjoyed the mashed potatoes imagery). Just emotionally touching. Two lost souls who are very different, who find each other in an extraordinary way.

Not that I am implying there is a happy ending, just that technically, they find each other.

The Endre character is interesting in that he is supposed to be a normalish guy. A guy who has just been around for a loooong time and now is just drifting peacefully into retirement or death or something. I found at various points in the film that I hated him and found him endearing.

Mária is the real star though, and of course, Borbély. This is not some ¨hey look at the weirdo, being all autistic¨ sort of film, and it does not feel like it is making fun of people on the spectrum. We get to see her with a lot of struggles and a lot of pain. Seriously, a ton of pain. We get to see her grow, or attempt to grow, as she determines if she even can try to love another person.

There are some gross moments, there are some graphic moments (it is a slaughterhouse after all). But in the end, I still really enjoyed it the same.

3 out of 4.

1 2 3 14