HUKKLE (György Pálfi, 2002)

I am underwhelmed by György Pálfi’s Hungarian 2002 Hukkle. The experimental nature of some of the film’s elements does not redeem the whole.

I love a good bucolic. (If Albee in Virginia Woolf? can use the word bucolic as a noun, so can I.) And I’m fascinated by films composed of instances of people and animals engaged in different kinds of work. There are moments of the film that indeed win me over. One such consists of a mountain-climbing explorer, a ladybug, patiently making its way up and down a girl’s fingers. There are also moments that disgust me. I hope never again to see a closeup of dangling testicles as its owner here, a pig, is prodded along by a farmer.

But the thing that threw me out of the movie and forced me to question all those who have lent their voices to the chorus of praise, not to mention the festival prizes, that have attended this allegedly brilliant work of art, is the corpse in the stream. In the film’s thematic context, the implication is that it, too, is doing its job, its work, which apparently is to pose a puzzle for us and the patient, ladybug-like investigation by the police detective. To me, this is sophomoric cleverness, inhuman, cold, ugly. What avails a film such gorgeous color cinematography when there is this degree of heartlessness at its core?

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