Gyorgy Palfi gives another bizarre biology lesson in Taxidermia, the Hungarian film-maker's follow-up to Hukkle. Unlike that film, this one has dialogue; yet it's unclear whether Palfi has anything more to say than 'human beings are pigs' (literally the case in one scenario). It's both shocking and plodding, a catalogue of body horrors (from speed eating to fiery ejaculation), whose misanthropy becomes as hard to stomach as the churning FX. If you're brave enough to bring popcorn, be sure to save the bucket.
Based on stories by writer Lajos Parti Nagy, the movie spans three male generations of one family. In the first part, World War II orderly Vendel (Csaba Czene) relieves boredom by spying on people, masturbating and having sex with his bully-boss' wife (on top of a pig, no less). Things don't end well for Vendel, but he does sire a child who grows up to be 1960s speed-eating champ Kalman (Gergo Trocsanyi). In turn, Kalman fathers Lajos (Marc Bischoff), a present-day taxidermist taunted about his modest weight by his now awesomely obese dad.
"MORE GLUM THAN FUN"
By the time we reach this third and final strand, Taxidermia has begun to feel bloated. No doubt there are sights that'll stay with you (whether you like it or not), from rows of men vomiting to a showdown between a chicken and a different kind of pecker. But where Hukkle's circle-of-life surrealism had a certain twisted charm, this film's sense of the grotesque is more glum than fun. On the tail of such a promising debut, it can't help feeling like a hiccup.
In Hungarian with English subtitles.
Taxidermia is out in the UK on 13th July 2007.