Friday, November 30, 2012
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
To consider Hukkle a murder-mystery, as it is described, might be somewhat misleading, yet that is exactly what it is- to an extent. Both murder-mystery and avant garde, this 2002 Hungarian film is a work of art that defies genres and categorization. Hukkle is sometimes comical, other times eerie and always tantalizing. Hukkle assumes no relation to the classic story-styled narrative viewers are used to, director György Pálfi delivers more awe and wonder than thrills in his carefully presented survey of a rural Hungarian town. There is a plot, sometimes, but the story is hardly what we concern ourselves with.
Hukkle shares the similar scanty, free-wielding plot found in Richard Linklater’s Slacker (1991). For Slacker, the existence of a plot is highly debatable. The same can be said for Hukkle, whose murder-mystery premise takes a backseat in favor of captivating imagery and visual poetics. The film, which runs close to 80 minutes, contains no absolutely dialogue. The closest thing we have is an old man who constantly hiccups.
And given the array of both intimate and grandiose images the movie boasts, maybe a more sensible comparison for Hukkle would be Terrence Malicks’s The Tree of Life, and Malick’s own infamous and unorthodox directing style. As the camera peacefully meanders through the town , Pálfi evokes a stunningly visceral and meditative approach to his cinematography. More often than not, his fascination seems to be less with people and more with the birds and bees, or tall golden strands of prairie grass blowing in the praise. Such pristine images force us to reassess some of the most obvious truths regarding movies as well as life and beauty. We find ourselves not only captivated by images, but also by these simple sounds- the buzzing of bees or whispering winds against the tall meadow grass. Hukkle is a voyeuristic parade that evokes wonder as much as bafflement and confusion.