'Taxidermia' stuffed in Oscar's ballot box


LONDON -- "Taxidermia," a controversial Hungarian film that both shocked and delighted critics and audiences when it premiered in Budapest last year, has been chosen as the Central European country's nomination for best foreign-language Oscar.

Gyorgy Palfi's second feature is a strange and disturbing parable about post-World War II Hungarian history featuring graphic representations of masturbation, overeating in the name of competitive Olympic "speed eating" and a shocking conclusion in which a man performs machine-assisted taxidermy on himself.

"Taxidermia" was the main prize winner at last year's Hungarian Film Week and its world premiere came as part of Cannes' Un Certain Regard sidebar that same year.

Produced by Budapest-based Eurofilm Studio, headed by Peter Miskolczi and Gabor Varadi, the film also has picked up awards at the Chicago and Antalya Eurasia film festivals.

The film, which is handled for world sales by Netherland's Fortissimo Films, has seen theatrical releases in parts of Europe and the U.K., with releases in the U.S., the Far East and Middle East planned soon, Hungarian film body Filmunio said Thursday.