Hukkle – Critical Appreciation


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Violence against young men by a group of harmless looking elderly grannies may seem like an unusual topic but not for an unusual film like “Hukkle”. It’s unusual not just because of the kind of story it tells us but for the kind of style that the director chooses to present it with.

Since the introduction of sound, most films have become very dialogue centric. They have somehow neglected the power of other diegetic and non diegetic sounds. In this film György Pálfi uses no dialogues and is still able tell you so many things that otherwise dialogues would have failed at.

Full of both comic and tragic characters the film tells the true story of “The Angles Makers of Nagyrév”. The story is kind of like a mixture between Konstantin Bronzit’s “At the Ends of the Earth” and the mysterically comedic mood of the Pink Panther series. One can call it a silent whodunit film with elements of black comedy. You will laugh out loud at the simple and stupid actions of the villagers shown in this film. But then at the same time you will also see the sinister side effects of their simple and stupid actions.

The film is a beautiful and brave attempt by a relatively young Hungarian director György Pálfi. He has marvellously filled the film with little sachets of information, presenting the same complexities that are present in any Hitchcock suspense with the simplicity of a Hiccup. On the outside it may look plain and simple like the village of Nagyrév but on the inside a hideous face lies hidden ,slowly eating away everything.

Technically the film is a masterpiece. It effectively blends the handheld choreographed longs takes found in the films of Béla Tarr, The Coen Brothers and Nuri Bilge Ceylan with the complexity and special effects found in the films of Michel Gondry and Charlie Kaufman. There are shots reminiscent of the rural beauty found in the films of Víctor Erice and the pillow shots present in the films of Yasujirō Ozu. The film brims with visual dialogues, presenting an abstract philosophical view about the world found in the films of Bert Haanstra and Ron Fricke.

Sometimes the camera jumps from an extreme wide shot to an extreme close up shot like the eye of an ever conscious mind, watching everything with both poetic precision and scientific magnification. At one instant showing you the inside mechanisms of a sewing machine and then swiftly jumping off to a bird’s eye view of the entire village. These kinds of shots overwhelm you with surprise and at the same time remind you about the subtle sarcasm on humanity present in the films of Béla Tarr. It was surprising to find out that such a meticulously crafted film has never been shown at festival like Cannes. “Yes” story wise the film gets a little trite near the end. But nevertheless a brilliant attempt.

Hukkle Credit

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