Sexual Healing

A drug addict, wounded in a bus crash, and nearly dying, recovers to take on the role of nurse. She discovers that if she has sex with the very ill they win complete recovery. Returning from several years abroad, a wispy carpenter tries to build a new home in a reed-choked subsidiary of the Danube. Greeted by a red-faced mom, a hostile stepdad, and locals with faces like the business end of hammers, the one friendly face he sees is that of a sister hitherto unknown to him. The two bond, and together with a friendly turtle who serves as a totem of their love, they literally attempt to build a world of their own. A program of these, two films by a Hungarian, Kornél Mundruczó, offers viewers a chance to witness a remarkable debut. Johanna(2005) and Delta(2008) are in some ways completely different. Johannais filmed almost completely indoors, inside a rundown hospital with threatening murals of angry, frightened animals. Deltais filmed almost completely outdoors, Mundruczó’s camera embracing nature’s look while his editing rhythm mimics a delta’s gentle ebb and flow. Mundruczó’s muse, Orsi Toth, offers two completely different performances. Aggressive and eagerly giving of herself as Johanna, she’s an almost unrecognizable waif in Delta. The feel of the films are also different: Johanna‘s harshness is only partly ameliorated by its highly unusual soundtrack – all the dialogue is sung. Delta, on the other hand, celebrates life’s beauty, capturing little moments of human interaction – an embrace, a meal of bread and wine. At the same time Deltais pitiless in its depiction of human brutality – a rape, a murder. What unites the films, then, is Mundruczó’s singular sensibility, which is that of a born filmmaker.
Nov. 22-24, 2010

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