Film #70: HUKKLE
3 out of 5 stars
An early film by György Pálfi (TAXIDERMIA) that is a bit of a challenge. The film is virtually silent (although there is a LOT of sound) and what little dialog there is… is EXTREMELY important. The film is basically a mystery, but the overall pace is SLOOOOW. The narrative is imparted as a silent travelogue through a sleepy Hungarian town. A man sits by his home with hiccups… a horse drawn wagon comes by… an old woman makes a tincture and delivers it to various houses… a man fishes… some pigs fuck… It’s all little slivers of Life in a small town. But… as the film goes on, it takes a very subtle but decidedly dark tone with people dying and - in a scene that is sure to offend some animal rights folk - a small cat dies from apparent poisoning. For real. It’s obvious that this cat dies on screen. There’s no faking it. So, if you can handle seeing stuff like that, the film goes on with more imagery… more people die… a frog is eaten by a fish… a fish is caught and eaten by a man… a human head is seen underwater… Now, that all said… I like the films of György Pálfi. His style is unique, engaging, and doesn’t take a lot of prisoners. Yes, the pace is SLOW, but the director assumes his audience is smart enough - and patient enough - to stick with it and pay attention so that all the clues may be doled out in their own time. While HUKKLE is an early film by this bold filmmaker, it shows a measured and assured hand. Many viewers will hate this and György Pálfi’s other films, but… some, like me, will find them fascinating, unique, and darkly beautiful gems.