A relationship begins to develop between the financial director of an abattoir and the new quality manager when they discover that they’ve been having shared dreams.
Winner of the Golden Bear (best film at the Berlin Film Festival), On Body and Soul is a contemplative film that focuses on the connections between people and the importance that dreams can have over us. With this, her sixth film, writer/director Ildiko Enyedi has constructed a wonderful film that uses it’s bleakness and emotions to it’s advantage, weaving an intricate tale of love in the most unlikely of places and around the craziest of circumstances.
The audience can’t help but become enraptured with the connection that builds between a man who has disengaged from life and a woman who has ever really lived it. Through their blossoming relationship and interactions the pair slowly begin to reconnect (or connect) to the outside world, experiencing once again what life has to offer.
On Body and Soul is beautifully shot, including sequences of deer in the woods that will hands down be the most exquisite imagery you will see on the big screen this year. The juxtaposition of the gorgeous imagery intercut with the harsh working environment (warning for the faint of heart that real abattoir footage is used in the film) helps the overall metaphor of the film land with unique and striking detail, the destruction of animals being beautifully mirrored by the tranquillity of the existence in the characters dreams.
The film deals with the duality of waking and sleep, dreams and reality, and the importance all of these, and their relations to on another, can have on our growth and connectivity. Geza Morcsanyi and Alexandra Borbely give wonderfully measured performances as the dual protagonists, both being able to convey intense emotion simply with a look. Their grounded portrayals help lend believability and trust with the more fantastical elements of the story and allow the audience a real human connection to gravitate towards.
In the end it’s a hopefully film that is presented in a somewhat bleak way. On Body and Soul shows the weight of connection, humanity and dreams but above all it deals in the importance of love and understanding while never being heavy handed with its message.
Reviewed by Chris Swan.