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cast: Csaba Czene, Gergely Trocsanyi, Piroska Molnar, Adel Stanczel, and Marc Bischoff

director: Gyorgy Palfi

91 minutes (18) 2006
widescreen ratio 2.35:1
Tartan DVD Region 0 retail

RATING: 8/10
reviewed by Gary McMahon
When I first watched Taxidermia I had no prior knowledge of the film. To be honest, I'd never even heard of it. I approached it blind - which is, of course, the best (if usually impossible) way to approach any film, especially one like this. As I slipped the disc into my trusty DVD player, I was expecting to sit through some awful no-budget foreign slasher movie. This could not have been further from the truth.

Keeping all of the above in mind, I'll attempt to give you a flavour of this unique Hungarian film without actually giving anything away. I apologise in advance for the necessary brevity of this review. To call Taxidermia surreal would be both appropriate and an understatement. I can honestly say that I have never before seen anything quite like it. By turns bizarre, creepy, compelling, oblique, absurd, horrific, and wildly - if incredibly darkly - funny, this is a truly original piece of cinema.

The plot (what little of it there is) follows three generations of Hungarian men, each with his own story, encompassing army life, communism, masturbation, bestiality and flame-sex (just trust me on this one), competitive speed-eating, obesity, love, dysfunctional family relationships, some unbelievably large house cats, and, of course, taxidermy. No matter how badly I wish to describe some of the scenes from the film in this review, I won't. I can't. It would spoil the enjoyment (if that's even the right word) of one of the most enthralling oddities I have ever seen on film.

This amazing, shocking, funny, and beautifully shot film makes the empty, affected faux insanity of Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic (with Steve Zissou) look like the smug, self-congratulatory ego trip it really is. The soundtrack, by Amon Tobin, also deserves a mention. The music fits perfectly with the subject matter, and had me hunting around the Internet for a copy of the CD.

Check it out - but come prepared with an open mind and a cast-iron stomach.

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