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A love story forged at the least romantic place in the world, a slaughterhouse, “On Body and Soul” is a testament to the grit of its writer-director, first-time Oscar nominee Ildikó Enyedi.
Born in Budapest, the 62-year-old emerged on the international film scene almost 30 years ago, winning the Cannes’ Camera d’Or for her feature debut, “My Twentieth Century” (among the top 10 films of 1989, according to The New York Times). Over the next decade, she made four more films; 1999’s “Simon the Magician” claimed the Special Jury Prize at the Locarno International Film Festival. Then she went 18 years without a release.
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Ildikó Enyedi directing a scene of “On Body and Soul”
“Oh my God, I was constantly, constantly working on projects, and they nearly happened,” she told IndieWire at the Hollywood offices of Netflix, which began streaming “On Body and Soul” last week. Five of her original films were scratched, including a story set in 1930s New York, when scientists at kitchen tables scribbled calculations for what would ultimately become the Manhattan Project. Although that endeavor paired Enyedi with “wonderful partners,” the successive disappointments caused her to lose hope.
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“When you are desperate, you start to make bad decisions, even if your instincts are good,” she said. “You just team up with the wrong guys. And that can steal years from your life.”
Admittedly shy and reclusive, Enyedi started her career mounting performances and exhibitions as part of interdisciplinary art group Indigo. Her goal remains, she said, “to understand my life and our life and what the **** is happening.” Post-“My Twentieth Century,” she realized that filmmaking was the only medium she needed.
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“On Body and Soul”
“It’s so complex and the phases are so different,” she said. The solitude of writing and intimacy of editing in the dark bookend “a big explosion of...
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