Review: Taxidermia DVD

STUDIO: Entertainment One | DIRECTOR: Gyorgy Palfi | CAST: Casba Czene, Gergely Trocsanyi, Marc Bischoff, Istvan Gyuricza, Gabor Mate, Zoltan Koppany
RELEASE DATE: 4/6/2010 | PRICE: DVD $24.98
BONUSES: featurette
SPECS: NR | 91 min. | Foreign language drama-comedy | 2.35:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital | Hungarian with English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

György Pálfi’s Taxidermia has cult favorite status written all over it, unless you think a Hungarian film that opens with a scene of a man shooting flames out of his penis is better suited for general audiences.

Focusing on three generations of men — a World War II orderly (Csaba Czene) with the aforementioned perfervid penis, an obese champion speed eater (Gergely Trócsányi) and a cadaverous taxidermist (Marc Bischoff) who assists his father in breeding giant cats — the movie is a surreal, absurdist family saga that captures the degeneration of these three generations through acts of excess, anger and animal-like behavior.

The film’s startling images—a man so obese that he can barely move, the birth of a child with a curly-cue, pig-like tail, a line of sumo wrestler-type speed eaters vomiting in unison at the conclusion of a competition—are striking and memorable and immediately call to mind the works of David Cronenberg (A History of Vengeance), Terry Gilliam (Brazil) and Alejandro Jodorowsky (Santa Sangre).

While the visuals are powerful and frequently shocking, they are used in a classically structure triptych narrative that spans more than 60 years, from WWII up through today. In other words, it ain’t all just about the shock value—there’s more to take in here, including thinly veiled swipes at Socialist values and Communist pageantry.

Accompanying the filmon the DVD is a fine 45-minute making-of featurette by Aprily Zoltan that finds one cast member telling the documentarian that “It’s always hard to talk about a role while one is working on it.” Now, when the last time you heard a Hollywood performer offer that when a making-of camera was turned their way!?


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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.