The Oscar for best foreign film went to Chile’s A Fantastic Woman, deservedly so, but secretly we were rooting for On Body and Soul, Hungary’s entry into the category.
The plot is about two slaughterhouse workers, Endre and Maria who find it hard to connect to each other during work hours. But at night, they each dream the same dream while asleep in their separate beds.
In their dream, they are deer and they fall in love in a wintry landscape that is bleak but shows signs of thawing.
The film was made using real live deer trained by trainer Zoltan Horka who runs Horkai Animal Training Centre in Godollo, near Budapest.
The deer were named Picur (which means tiny) and Goliat and Horkai said it was a challenge.
“Deer are not like domesticated animals, cooperating with man is not coded in them,” Horkai said.“In winter, bucks and does are not even together normally and we had to convince them to move in tandem.”
It’s the first film in two decades made by Hungarian director Ildiko Enyedi. The movie scooped the Golden Bear at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival last year.
Horkai, who specializes in studying and training wolves, used two wolves on leashes to herd the deer from a distance.