A slightly disabled financial director at a slaughterhouse falls for a cold, stuck up, laconic young woman, the new in-house quality inspector, as they discover they may share the same dream.
With her Oscar nominated (Best Foreign Language Film), On Body and Soul, Hungarian director Ildikó Enyedi makes a strong comeback with her first feature since 1999’s Simon the Magician. Enyedi, once a Camera d’Or winner at Cannes Film Festival, for the superb My twentieth Century (1989), is the only female director among the boy’s club of five nominees. When shown in competition at Berlin Film Festival 2017, it was an unanimous choice, earning top prizes from the jury of her peers (Golden Bear), the FIPRESCI (the international press) and even the ecumenical.
On Body and Soul bears Enyedi’s signature: a blend of realism with added surrealism and lyricism, the animal surroundings and comparisons with nature, the unusual channels used by the protagonists to compensate for the lack of communication. But it is more succinct than her previous efforts which might explain she is back under the spotlight. 1994’s Magic Hunter, for instance, had the same basic ingredients but with multiple narratives and a much more experimental approach that may have been difficult for some audiences.
Through clever set up, framing on details, good characterization from leads Géza Morcsányi and Alexandra Borbély, a good share of odd but humorous segments, the director creates a piece in which ambiance is prominent, but without the deliberate short falls she usually comes with. Thus she gains from being more conclusive this time around.
On Body and Soul is a romantic comedy drama where hidden emotions ultimately convey us into a beautiful dream.