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The Cinematic Bodies of Eastern Europe and RussiaBetween Pain and Pleasure$
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Ewa Mazierska, Matilda Mroz, and Elzbieta Ostrowska

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781474405140

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474405140.001.0001

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Corporeal Exploration in György Pálfi’s Taxidermia

Corporeal Exploration in György Pálfi’s Taxidermia

(p.207) Chapter 10 Corporeal Exploration in György Pálfi’s Taxidermia
The Cinematic Bodies of Eastern Europe and Russia

Małgorzata Bugaj

Edinburgh University Press

In the recent decades ample attention within the study of cinema has been paid to the human body, yet few films deal so directly with our physical nature as Hungarian director György Pálfi’s Taxidermia. This 2006 surreal family saga presents three generations of men obsessed with their corporeal needs. In its reflection on the body, the film juxtaposes the extremes of the human form. On the one hand, it probes the inside and the outside of the body. On the other hand, it investigates Bakhtin’s carnivalesque corporealities and considers Baudrillard’s notion of the body ‘as the finest of the consumer objects’. In contemplating the corporeal exterior, Taxidermia celebrates the senses as well as the varied textures and hues of the skin. Revisiting the visceral depths of the body, it imposes its own aesthetics as it exhibits the interior anatomy. Furthermore, while the film begins with grotesque depictions of the corporeality and its urges, in its conclusion these are replaced with the image of a modern, constructed physicality whose enslavement to its needs is rebuked. Such a body, emptied of its organic connections and ultimately likened to a taxidermist mount, constitutes a commentary on the contemporary perception of our own physical nature. Tracing Taxidermia’s exploration of the human body, this chapter analyses the film’s references to different theories revolving around the human corporeality.

Keywords:   Györgi Pálfi, Taxidermia, Hungarian cinema, Eastern European cinema, haptic cinema, senses and cinema, body and cinema, Bakhtin, Baudrillard

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