An obese speed eater, a cat embalmer and a man who shoots fire out of his penis are the bizarre focus of Gyorgy Palfi's film.
Feeling like a satirical riposte to István Szabó’s Sunshine, György Pálfi’s second feature is a body-horror history of 20th-century Hungary.
Basing the first two episodes on stories by Lajos Nagy and co-scripting the conclusion with wife Zsófia Ruttkay, Pálfi revels in the freakishness of his characters’ physical attributes. Whether focusing on a fire-spurting penis, a porcine tail, a bulging belly or a hideously preserved carcass, the action bawdily mocks the nation’s travails as it passes from imperial subservience, through Soviet domination, to independent indolence.
The effects are nauseatingly effective, and though ultimately the allegory is subsumed by the surrealism, this is still a work of hilarious bravura.
Keeping it surreal has never been so nauseating and, at times, hilarious.
Reviewed by Patrick Peters