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On Body and Soul

“I aimed at the public’s heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach.”

A brooding melancholia of hopeless bodies entangled together through arbitrary dream sequence for no other apparent purpose than to shine light on a director (Ildikó Enyedi) still in a stage of experimentation. I guess the only way to fully embrace the last 15 minutes of the film is to bore the audience with hapless sc-fi allusions without the requisite creative process to connect the stories. We get it, they’re having the same dream and its feels like the bulls are somehow connected, but Mike Cahill already experimented with the reincarnation theme that likewise ended up poorly.

Taken apart, this film fails where Upstream Color succeeds: weaving through an esoteric narrative those pieces that force the audience to question the reality of its perceptions, question the overlooking method in the madness.

Taken apart, this film fails where Caché succeeds: the violence outpouring of brittle emotion with the requisite foundation to render the act meaningful. While the finale showed promising sign of life, Eric Kohn (indieWire) is right about the many “moments when Enyedi mistakes capriciousness for depth.”


While the visual depiction of the slaughterhouse and the unprocessed humanity that occupies its walls is stunning at timesthe movie is largely driven by the development of a relationship between two people who need professional help more than companionship to steady the waves of their monotonous isolation. One of the most memorable aspects of the film comes from the quality of performance by Alexandra Borbély. With very few credits to her name and even less recognition for her acting in On Body and Soul, I suspect this will be her unveiling: the Czech Tilda Swinton.

In the end, Jordan Mintzer (Hollywood Reporter) said it best: “a rich and strange tale of thwarted sexuality that takes a tad too long to get to the point.” How this film snuck away with the top prize in Berlin and the Oscar nomination feels like a dream: forgive me.


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