Think of a film, any film. Yes, it is probably in this one. Director Pálfi György had the brilliant idea to make a movie entirely made up of scenes form other movies. The result is a story cut from more than 450 films and series – a nightmare in terms of copyright, one would imagine. But Pálfy managed to avoid legal toss and turn by declaring his film educational material for film students and releasing it as a free attachment to scholar Balázs Varga’s book about the film.
I have nothing but admiration for Pálfi, and whoever saw his Taxidermia probably knows why. However, despite the idea bordering on genius and the joy of watching this film, I was also very much disappointed. It seems that after having come up with such a nice premise, the author did not have the patience to come up with a story worth telling. And this is such a huge miss, as the possibilities were literally endless, he could have told ANY story. Instead, we get a quite disappointing cliché of boy meets girl they fall in love and misunderstanding comes between them. But this is still not the worse part, at least not what bothered me most. It was the annoying sexism and the portrayal of women – or, should I say, the Woman. One could argue that this might be one of the points of the film: how it’s the same old story, the same old characters, over and over again, and we still love them. So ok, if the point was to illustrate that Hollywood or film in general is a sexist cliché, well done. Still, I would have much preferred it if we got a different, stronger and more nuanced female character cut together from all the weak ones. Or if we got a male character who is not a thug.
But no, women are flirty singers who just want to get married and taken care of, while men chase after them and physically win them over from the competition and make them into trophy wives. After that women cook, clean, iron, have babies and wait for their husbands (who work long and hard, of course) in vain, having the audacity to have a headache when he comes home drunk and wakes them to have sex. Then the guy believes the first guy who suggests his wife is cheating… although, honestly, when would she have the time with all that cooking and ironing? And when a strong guy has doubts, he hits women, but suffers while doing it. Ok, women hit back but when they do, they turn alien monsters. Furthermore, when hurt in love, men join the army to blow stuff up and repeatedly shoot each other, while women take long baths to the music of Twin Peaks (no complaints here).
And the most painful was to watch genuinely original characters that Hollywood and film in general managed to create being cut into these ultimate cliché roles – when Björk seems to be saying a cheesy „I do” to a marriage proposal, that really hurt. And when there is a big dance scene without Christopher Walken, that hurts too. How could that happen?
But all and all, if one loves film, one just cannot stop watching and enjoying this avalanche of films coming our way. All the classics are there, but it was especially exciting to see some old time favorites like Twin Peaks, La Haine, Blue Velvet, La Boum (healthy humans born in the eighties might remember that as Sophie Marceau’s first film, so sweet and so eighties cool…), Monthy Python (at least two movies), Scenes from a Marriage, Dear Hunter, Annie Hall, The Double Life of Veronique, Pi, Irreversible, Natural Born Killers, Dangerous Liaisons, and so, so much more. Plus, the delight of the many Hungarian classics popping up here and there. The music also deserves special mention, even though we all know the selection by heart, it was nice to hear all the classic soundtracks again.
A huge missed opportunity which nevertheless should not be missed by anyone who loves film.