EUFF 2015: Body
Body kicks off with one of the strangest, most darkly comedic opening sequences in recent memory. A visibly deceased man, hanging by a noose from a tree, is cut down by crime scene investigators. As they discuss details of the apparent suicide, the man stands up and quietly begins to walk away. Thus begins Malgorzata Szumowska’s bizarre tale of grief and mental illness, which maintains the same level of absurdity throughout.
The tale of a middle-aged attorney (Janusz Gajos), his anorexic daughter (Justyna Suwala), and their grieving psychiatrist (Maja Ostaszewska), Body is an unusually crafted piece of cinema. Its humor is so dry that it’s almost nonexistent, but it often feels like the more intense, serious moments are played for laughs. It’s never completely apparent what Szumowska is going for. The psychiatrist’s unconventional relationship with her massive dog provides some hilarious insight into the woman’s life, and the interactions between the attorney and his daughter are uncomfortable to say the least. Body borders on surrealism at times, as the characters are almost too strange to exist in reality.
It’s not a particularly enjoyable film, but it’s certainly not a boring one. In the same year that saw the release of the late Marcin Wrona’s Demon, Body is yet another example of the daring cinema that’s currently coming out of Poland. It’s not for everyone, but it’s an interesting piece of art regardless.