Maria and Endre both work in an abattoir. Against the backdrop of blood-stained tiles and cow carcasses strung from the ceiling, the two form an unusual bond when they discover that they’re both having the same dream every night. Your usual meet-cute this certainly isn’t.
‘On Body and Soul’ won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year. It’s a slow, quiet and beautifully composed story about human connection, or more specifically, the difficulty in finding it. The two protagonists are often shot alone, dwarfed by the city landscape around them; at times, it’s reminiscent of work by Scandi directors like Aki Kaurismäki and Roy Andersson. Like them, Enyedi is interested in capturing the silences and awkwardness between people, rather than excessive dialogue or drama.
As the film progresses, the kookiness at the start is replaced by something more poignant, as Maria attempts to navigate a relationship with her colleague. Be warned, though – there is a graphic scene towards the end which harks back to the earlier abattoir footage. Some might think it misjudged, but it certainly makes you think about the larger themes of the film, and what its enigmatic title could be alluding to.