22 October 2012

October 22nd

Taxidermia (2006) directed by György Pálfi
Though tagged with a "horror" label in both IMDb and Netflix, this is not a horror movie.  It has horrific imagery in it, sure.  The scene at the end that poster to the right references could be inserted into a new Aftermath sequel without anyone questioning.  But, the movie's purpose is not to horrify.  The film seems to be most interested in commenting on Hungarian society as it has changed over the years by following three generations of not-so-normal men.

I'm afraid I don't know know much about Hungary.  Capital is Budapest, former Eastern Bloc country, birthplace of Zsa Zsa, inventors of goulash.  That's about it.  That ain't anywhere near enough knowledge to understand what this movie is trying to say about Hungary's transformation from empire to communist regime to republic.  Given the characters -- a horny military man who resorts to relations with a recently slaughtered pig, an obese competitive eating champion, and a taxidermist -- I'm sure the satire is biting and hilarious to Hungarians.

I suspect most non-Hungarians are in the same boat as me while watching the movie.  I would guess that the weird characters and grotesque imagery are what attract foreign audiences to watch this film.  The aforementioned Aftermath-like scene at the end is incredible.  In it, taxidermist Lajoska places himself in a machine of his own devising in order to practice his craft on himself.  Using -- what I hope was -- slaughterhouse renderings, Pálfi shows us an extreme close-up of Lajoska carefully extracting all of the organs from his own abdomen.  It's bloodless, but it's also clearly real flesh that is being sliced and retracted and dumped on the floor.  The lighting and editing and angles used make this process quite beautiful.  Once finished, he sews himself shut and turns on the final portion of his machine, which slices both his head and right arm off.  Later, his taxidermied corpse is displayed in a museum.  I'm sure it all means something, but it was interesting as hell to watch even without knowing what.

Watched: DVD from E1.

The Walking Dead 2.06: "Secrets" (2011) directed by David Boyd
More searching for Sofia and more lazy days at Hershel's farm.  At least they finally get around to training people to use guns so we can finally find out that Andrea is a natural shot.  Carl seems to have recovered suspiciously fast.  Maybe tell the Chandler Riggs to wince in pain every once in a while to remind us that Carl was seriously wounded and almost died not so long ago?  Norman Reedus could give him tips.

The Walking Dead 2.07: "Pretty Much Dead Already" (2011) directed by Michelle MacLaren
Season two seems to be following the general flow of the comics -- not the plot -- by having long periods of not-too-much-happening broken up by shocking events.  I think it works OK.  The not-too-much-happening episodes never fail to have at least one cool zombie and the shocking episodes tend to change events enough from the comics enough so that I'm surprised by them.  Just like this episode.  In the comics, Sophia is a long-time survivor who now calls Glenn and Maggie her parents.  But, I have to admit, she's probably not necessary to keep around at this point.  Carl's the kid who's character is interesting to follow.  And, having Rick shoot the zombified Sophia in this episode should have more interesting implications for the show as they deal with its impact.

This event and Hershel's insistence that the zombies are just sick people also opens up the potential to discus my favorite topic from the comic.  What are Rick and the gang becoming?  Should they be so comfortable blowing away people, even if those people are kinda, sorta dead?  Are they losing their humanity by becoming numb to the massive amount of killing they need to do?  Hopefully, the show will begin to explore this for the later half of this season.

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