Film review by: Witney Seibold

Taxidermia fatman

Györgi Pálfi’s striking film “Taxidermia” was released in Hungary in 2006. It is only, just now in 2009, getting a release stateside. Often foreign-language hits don’t take so long to make it overseas, but, given the content of “Taxidermia,” it’s a small miracle that it got released anywhere at all. “Taxidermia” contains scenes of hardcore sex, muddy and grotesque sexuality, gallons of vomit, piles of entrails, and loving close-ups of human dismemberment. It’s one of the most gorgeously grotesque films I have seen in a long time; it rivals Jean-Claude Lauzon’s underrated classic “Léolo” for how touchingly disgusting it is. It’s a pity that it’s not as good as “Léolo.”

“Txidermia” tells the story of three generations of men.

Vendel Morosgoványi (Csaba Czene) is the put-upon, slave-like lieutenant of a provincial general. Morosgoványi is obsessed with sex, and regularly peeps on his general’s lovely young daughters and fat, piggish wife. He masturbates at every given opportunity, having sex with inanimate objects, and reveling in his orgasms. He holds a candle flame to his bare skin, and sucks in the flame with his lips. He ejaculates fire. Hm… Eventually, he manages to have sex with the general’s piggish wife, and impregnates her. Morosgoványi is executed.

Ejaculating Fire

His child, born with a pig’s tail, and brought up by the general is Kálmán Balatony (Gergely Trócsányi). He is raised to be an Olympic competitive eater. This second act of the film is full of shoptalk of the competitive eating trade, presumably all invented. There is talk of illegal techniques such as “cross-swallowing,” and we witness the eaters vomiting en masse into an enormous bucket in between rounds. Balatony’s eating skills eventually catch the eye of a pretty fat woman named Gizi (Adél Stanczel), and, despite a brief competition with a rival, the two of them end up marrying. Her eventual pregnancy, though, forces them apart.

Act III: Balatony has a son named Lajoska (Marc Bischoff), who, contrary to family tradition, has not gone into competitive eating, and runs his own taxidermy place. His father (now played by Gábor Máté) is now a 1000-pound cellar-dweeling monstrosity who is training cats to overeat, and relies on his son to take care of him. Eventually, Lajoska’s skills as a taxidermist will come into play in his family’s legacy.

Taxidermia 1

The images in “Taxidermia” are gorgeous, gross, gory and fascinating. It’s explorations of the body’s sickly, juicy mechanics are lovingly rendered, and not shied away from. The problem is trying to discern what Pálfi was trying to say. Clearly he is trying to say that all of the body’s physical instincts come from a compressed single place somewhere within the trunk, but what is the significance of that. The sex drive comes from the skin, the hunger drive opens up great chasms within the body, and taxidermy has to do with the very extraction of our own meat. Perhaps Pálfi is trying to say that the only way to find the source of one’s oft-overwhelming sex drive is to delve deeper into the physical self.

Perhaps. Now I’m just interpreting.

Despite it’s unclear motives and unfocussed themes, “Taxidermia” is still a gloriously difficult film to sit through. It’s rare that I can find a film that is truly shocking anymore, so I’m glad when someone tries to make one.

Published in: on August 28, 2009 at 2:11 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. mi opinin.
    me gusto mucho la imagen y es muy refleccionante

  2. good review =] taxidermia is one of the most fucked up filims ive ever seen ,crazy haha , love it im going 2 get the dvd ,need 2 show some freinds =] i seen it at 3 in the morning on tv , wouldent get that shit eany uther time =]

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