Truly disgusting, and yet somehow beautifully so, film-festival shocker Taxidermia has gone (understandably) without an American distributor for years. It still might not reward your attention. But those who pride themselves on iron guts will want to trek down to Cinema Village for this surreal, stunty endurance test, occasionally redeemed by a darkly Pythonesque sense of humor.
What will they see? The three main characters of Taxidermia—set in a grimy, unspecified Central European country during the Soviet era—are related by birth, but try not to pursue that familial significance. Grandpa (Czene), a drunk WWII orderly, is a furious masturbator, his penis emitting a hissing jet of flame. After his misadventurous death, the movie jumps forward to the life of his grown son (Trcsnyi), an obese champion eater in an alternate 1950s that hopes to accommodate such competition at the Olympics. Finally, this man’s child (Bischoff) becomes a morose taxidermist who, in the movie’s stunningly grody conclusion, brings a self-negating artwork to fruition.
Taxidermia’s director, Gyrgy Plfi, made a splash with 2002’s Hukkle; he might better be called a visionary than a storyteller. The new movie puts a rictus of amused nausea on your face. You wonder why such spectacles were ever hatched. (Opens Fri; Cinema Village.)—Joshua Rothkopf