Taxidermia is a beautiful film in many respects, and it never ceases to amaze me that this is only György Pálfi’s second film. Having seen his first feature Hukkle previously, it is clear that Pálfi pays great attention to detail, and perhaps places the greatest importance on sound design. A great example of this would be the scene wherein Lajos (Marc Bischoff) extracts his own organs – the visceral image of each individual organ sliding out of the body becomes infinitely more repulsive accompanied by the appropriate Foley sounds, deliberately amplified to draw us closer to the ‘action’. Amon Tobin’s skulking score helps to identify the tone as brooding.
Though I haven’t read Lajos Parti Nagy’s short stories, the source material from which each character originates, I loved the theme of animalism and the deadly sins. Each member of the Balatony family seemed to exhibit the physical and spiritual traits of an animal – Morosgoványi as the lustful rabbit (compare his hare-lip), Kálmán as the gluttonous pig (complete with truncated tail), and Lajos as the vainglorious bird (his gaunt face also brings to mind the skull traditionally seen in vanitas paintings). Pálfi enriches this theme by having each character physically deconstruct real animals - Morosgoványi has sex in the corpse of a pig, Kálmán gorges on various animals, and Lajos stuffs animals for a living. As each man dies as a result of his sin, one could suggest that Pálfi is criticising man’s hypocrisy for judging others without recognising his own flaws.