Its title is meant to suggest a hiccup, and that's one of the only sounds you'll hear the human voice apparatus emit in Hukkle, Hungarian director György Pálfi's minimalist inquiry into village life. Speech communication is limited to snatches of atmospheric background chatter, TV broadcast babble and a plaintive wedding song as Pálfi strings a series of day-in-the-life vignettes into a deceptively tranquil biography of a rural community. The song's lyrics appear on the screen, but that's all we get in the way of subtitles; the ominous sound of buzzing flies thus carries as much usable information as anything a man's or woman's lips can produce.
On the surface, it may look as if Pálfi has crafted a faux documentary whose sole rationale is immersion in old-world rhythms and routines. That's the initial impression one gets from the loosely connected shots of village folk performing chores and fixing meals while animals act out their most basic instincts. But what the filmmaker is really up to is the removal of cues the verbal morsels and other narrative elements we automatically seek out as signposts to meaning.
Or perhaps "clues" would be a better word, since Hukkle gradually and cleverly reveals itself as a wordless murder mystery. Look carefully at the (seemingly) random close-ups of local rituals, and you'll notice that something is amiss in this hamlet. A poison of uncertain origin is making its way through the ecosystem, its true nature concealed somewhere in the background of the action. Or is it the foreground? Not knowing what to concentrate on or where to focus our gaze makes everything that happens appear sinister, from the delivery of a mysterious package to the alighting of the smallest insect. The movie is an enriching, lovingly filmed exercise in disorientation, worth seeing more than once if you've got the time, money and patience.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at email@example.com.
Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.
Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.
Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.
Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.