On Body and Soul

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On Body and Soul
On Body and Soul.jpg
Hungarian theatrical release poster
HungarianTestről és lélekről
Directed byIldikó Enyedi
Written byIldikó Enyedi
Produced byErnő Mesterházy
András Muhi
Mónika Mécs
StarringGéza Morcsányi
Alexandra Borbély
CinematographyMáté Herbai
Edited byKároly Szalai
Music byÁdám Balázs
Distributed byNetflix
Release dates
  • 10 February 2017 (2017-02-10) (Berlin)
  • 2 March 2017 (2017-03-02) (Hungary)
Running time
116 minutes
Box office$2.1 million[1]

On Body and Soul (Hungarian: Testről és lélekről) is a 2017 Hungarian drama film written and directed by Ildikó Enyedi.[2] The story revolves around a CFO of a slaughterhouse and the newly appointed meat quality inspector who discover they can communicate with each other through their dreams, leading to an unlikely romance. It won the Golden Bear in the main competition section of the 67th Berlin International Film Festival.[3] At Berlin it also won the FIPRESCI Prize and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury.[4] It was selected as the Hungarian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film[5] and was nominated for the Oscar at the 90th Academy Awards.[6] Alexandra Borbély won the European Actress award at the European Film Awards for her performance in the film.[7]


Endre, a CFO at an abattoir, and Mária, the newly hired quality inspector, experience a recurring dream of being a pair of deer in the forest, though they are not aware that it is a shared dream.

Mária is immediately unpopular at work for her autistic behaviour and uncompromising grading of the abattoir's meat quality. Though Endre tries to befriend her, she quickly becomes uncomfortable with the interaction and rudely comments on his lame left arm. However, she repeats the conversation to herself that night, analyzing where she made her mistakes. Meanwhile, the abattoir hires a new butcher, Sanyi, who Endre takes a quick dislike to due to his cocky demeanor and unsympathetic view towards the slaughtered animals.

The abattoir is put under investigation when mating powder is stolen from the inventory; Endre and his friend Jenő both suspect that Sanyi is the culprit. A psychologist is hired to perform personality tests on the workers to discover the culprit. The workers are asked questions on the history of their sexuality and physical development, as well as what they dreamed the night before. When Endre and Mária both report the same dream, the psychologist assumes they are playing a prank. Though Endre and Mária are both skeptical, they realize that they are indeed experiencing the same dream and grow closer. Though Mária's behavior temporarily drives Endre away, they eventually form a tight bond. Endre also learns that Jenő stole the mating powder, but chooses not to inform the police as there are no victims, and he apologizes to Sanyi for suspecting him.

Endre and Mária decide to fall asleep in the same room one night, but both are unable to sleep. Although she loves him, Mária shuts down when Endre touches her after a night of playing cards, leaving Endre offended and confused. The incident affects Mária, and she begins to open herself up to new experiences and sensations, such as listening to romantic music, watching pornography, and observing couples at the park.

However, Endre has grown pessimistic about their budding relationship and calls it off. He sleeps with another woman, though the encounter leaves him disappointed. A devastated Mária prepares to commit suicide at home, calmly slitting her wrist in the bathtub. The suicide is interrupted by Endre calling her, and after a short and awkward conversation, he reveals that he loves her, which Mária reciprocates. After getting her wound bandaged, she goes to Endre's home, where they make love. After falling asleep, they wake up to realize that neither of them dreamed the night before.



Ildikó Enyedi at the film's press conference in Berlin

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 89%, based on 75 reviews, with an average rating of 7.34/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Tender performances and a strong sense of style combine to create an eccentric, dreamy portrait of love and loneliness in On Body and Soul."[8] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 77 out of 100, based on 10 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[9]


Year Award Category Recipients Result Ref.
2018 Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film On Body and Soul Nominated [10]
2018 American Society of Cinematographers Awards Spotlight Award Máté Herbai Nominated [11]
2017 Berlin International Film Festival Golden Bear Ildikó Enyedi Won [12]
Prize of the Ecumenical Jury Won
Reader Jury of the "Berliner Morgenpost" Won
2017 European Film Awards Best Film Ernő Mesterházy, András Muhi, Mónika Mécs and Ildikó Enyedi Nominated [13]
Best Director Ildikó Enyedi Nominated
Best Screenwriter Nominated
Best Actress Alexandra Borbély Won

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "A Teströl és Lélekröl". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  2. ^ Barraclough, Leo (15 December 2016). "Berlin Film Festival Reveals First Competition Section Films". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
  3. ^ Meza, Ed (18 February 2017). "Berlin Film Festival: 'On Body and Soul' Wins Golden Bear for Best Film". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
  4. ^ "Berlinale 9—19 Feb 2017: The Awards" (PDF). Berlinale 67. Berlin International Film Festival. 18 February 2017. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
  5. ^ Clarke, Stewart (5 September 2017). "Hungary Selects Golden Bear Winner 'On Body and Soul' as Foreign Language Oscar Entry". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  6. ^ "Oscars 2018: The list of nominees in full". BBC News. 23 January 2018. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  7. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (9 December 2017). "European Film Awards: 'The Square' Sweeps Prizes At Issue-Focused Ceremony". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  8. ^ "On Body and Soul (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  9. ^ "On Body and Soul Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  10. ^ Coyle, Jake (23 January 2018). "In Oscar nominations, fresh voices lead the way". Star Tribune. Retrieved 4 May 2020.
  11. ^ Tapley, Kristopher. "'Blade Runner,' 'Mudbound,' 'Game of Thrones' Land ASC Cinematography Nominations". Variety. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  12. ^ "Prizes of the International Jury". Berlin International Film Festival. Archived from the original on 21 March 2019. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  13. ^ "European Film Awards Nominations: 'The Square', 'Loveless', 'On Body And Soul' & More". Deadline.

External links[edit]