February 27, 2018 / 2:06 PM / 24 days ago

Love is easier for deer than people in Hungary's Oscar-nominated movie

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungarian director Ildiko Enyedi’s first film in nearly two decades, nominated for the 2018 Oscar in the foreign film category, tells the story of two people searching for love - in their dreams as deer in a forest.

Animal trainer Zoltan Horkai stands with his Deer at the Animal Training Center in Godollo, Hungary, February 26, 2018. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

Aiming to bag Hungary’s third Academy Award in three years at the weekend, “On Body And Soul” features Endre and Maria who each night share the same dream, despite finding it difficult to connect with each other during their lives.

As deer, they meet and fall in love in a beautiful, wintry landscape.

The scenes where the elegant deer meet by a lake to drink and court one another run parallel with Endre and Maria’s shy, awkward attempts to get closer to each other in the slaughterhouse where they work.

Filming the real deer, named Picur (Tiny) and Goliat, proved a challenge, said Zoltan Horkai, who runs an animal training center in Godollo, near Budapest.

A deer is seen at the Animal Training Center in Godollo, Hungary, February 26, 2018. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

“Deer are not like domesticated animals, cooperating with man is not coded in them,” Horkai said. “In winter, bucks and does are not even together normally and we had to convince them to move in tandem.”

The movie scooped the Golden Bear at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival last year.

Slideshow (4 Images)

“When Ildiko came to me with the script, she told me these two people act really awkwardly in life, and she would like to show how it works with the animal scenes,” Horkai said. “And it worked... although their relationship was built more on trust than love.”

Horkai, who specializes in studying and training wolves, used two wolves on leashes to herd the deer from a distance.

Hungarian movies “Son of Saul” won the 2016 Oscar for best foreign language film and “Sing” best live action short in 2017.

Reporting by Krisztina Than and Krisztina Fenyo; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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