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Hukkel

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Hukkle (2002) is one of the oddest and most interesting films I have seen in a long time. Its Hungarian and appears to be the film school project of György Pálfi. If for no other reason, see this film as a reminder that there are more ways to tell a story, or present a reality, that the one we usually see. This film has no recognizable human dialogue and the only subtitles relate to the credits. The cover copy in full reads Hukkle: a Bizarre Murder Mystery or Life, Death, Hiccups.

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It would be easy to miss the mystery though the director’s approach makes the whole film a mystery. This is life in a village explored through not only human interaction but of seeming same importance, the movement of domestic and wild animals, insects within the wood, the dance of machinery and the textures of nature. All sounds but those of human speech are here. And its mesmerizing. Its been said that you have to see it three or four times to pick up all the clues but you only have to see it once to be intrigued.

It reminds me of two other film makers. If Jacques Tati had been a farmer or lived in a small village, he might have made this sort of film. The rural rhythms and bucolic aura are almost a direct opposite to Tati’s urban orderliness and musique mechanique. I’ve always loved Tati and its good to see his ideas carried in a new direction. Tati and Palfi (at least on the basis of this one film) also share using the community as the protagonist of the film. There are identifiable individuals but they really are cogs in the wheel of life. And this is also why the films of both these filmmakers seem more like documentaries.

Palfi is also a little like David Lynch. I think of Blue Velvet where the camera burrows down to the insects busy under the grass. Things hidden.

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I need to track down his latest film called Taxidermia. The IMDB description runs: grotesque tale of three generations of men, including an obese speed eater, an embalmer of gigantic cats, and a man who shoots fire out of his penis. And a viewer has this to say:

Oh my god! I just got out from seeing Taxidermia at MIFF 2006 and I was literally speechless. As I was one of the first to leave the theatre, I took it upon myself to stand out the front and watch the expressions on the faces of other patrons as they exited. Most were laughing in disbelief at what they had just seen, some were white as ghosts and some looked plain baffled. Whatever way you look at it, Taxidermia will certainly make a strong impact on you.

Sounds worth a hunt.

4 comments on “Hukkel

  1. Taxidermia sounds electrifying. Loved the hukkel review, hard to look at the picture and not think of ‘Babe’ though. Intriguing.

  2. Great reviews. I’ll see if I can add them to Netflix, thanks!

  3. Amuiren: There is no way you would confuse this with Babe. This huge hog is a lumbering thing swaying down the road with absurdly huge balls swinging back and forth.

  4. We just watched Hukkel, start to finish. Mrs. Ombud recognized lily of the valley right away, and knew what it meant. She seemed to get most of the clues, and enjoyed the whole thing. On a scale of 5, she gave it 3 and a half, maybe 4, and enjoyed it.

    I think I should not try to watch it after work and dinner. I need a plot, dialog, to engage me. It is beautifully filmed, and I liked the sound track, too. But I kept snoozing biefly.

    Still, it’s a wonderfully innovative way to tell a story — kudos for that.

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