On the outskirts of Budapest, the ageing recluse, Endre, is the reserved and saturnine manager of a small abattoir, who is used to hiding his disabled left arm along with his emotions behind a busy schedule. And then, unexpectedly, the loner’s eye is caught by a shy and graceful newcomer in the office; the young Mária, the plant’s cryptic and glacially beautiful quality-control inspector. Strange as it may seem, the slaughterhouse will provide the unorthodox background for a timid affair between the tender outcasts, who, even though they seem to be polar opposites, a small theft within the company’s walls will prove that those two definitely share an eerie and almost spiritual bond. However, are the two dreamers, Endre and Mária, ready to embrace the catharsis of love on both body and soul?
Written and directed by Ildiko Enyedi (My Twentieth Century; Simon, the Magician), the Hungarian language film premiered in February at the Berlin Film Festival, where it was awarded the Golden Bear for best film. In Berlin, the drama also took the FIPRESCI Prize and the Ecumenical Jury Prize. In June, On Body and Soul won the Sydney Film Prize from the Sydney Film Festival, making Enyedi the first woman and the first Hungarian to receive that award. The film had its North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, and recently won the Mumbai Film Festival Audience Choice Award. The European Film Awards awarded On Body and Soul Best European Actress for Alexandra Borbély’s performance.