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Week of July 14, 2004

Hukkle Gyorgy Pálfi. (unrated) The opening, extreme close-up of a snake slithering through rocks, accompanied by arresting natural sound, announces 29-year-old first-time director Gyorgy Pálfi's unhurried and careful observational style. No explicit narrative emerges in his decidedly unromantic, but no less fascinating, presentation of the richness of life and death. Bees, frogs, fish, sheep, moles and other domesticated and undomesticated animals command as much screen time as the Hungarian village inhabitants going about their daily chores and activities. A mysterious corpse and a kitten's death suggest someone poisoned both, but a policeman's investigation reaches no closure. An old man shuffling about and hiccupping brackets Hukkle, the title itself a playfully onomatopoetic description of hiccups. Patience and receptivity to unusual fare are required -- and rewarded -- with visual and aural alertness to a world we seldom scrutinize. In Hungarian (only lyrics of a song) with English subtitles. Screens at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 17, and Sunday, July 18, in the Moore Auditorium on the campus of Webster University, 470 E. Lockwood Avenue. Call 314-968-7487 for more information. (Diane Carson)

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