Rhinoceros Hunting in Budapest

Director: Michael Haussman
Screenwriters: Michael Haussman

Institute History

  • 1997 Sundance Film Festival


Rhinoceros Hunting in Budapest is a beautiful and poetic work that provides an ethereal ride into a world of absurdity, isolation, and loneliness through a menagerie of abstract imagery, poignant music, and majestic dialogue. The story begins with a young American man flying overseas to hunt rhinos in Africa with his estranged girlfriend, who is currently living in Paris. As the background of the story is revealed, we learn that his search for her may not be as sincere and untainted as he has led everyone to believe. Upon arriving in Paris, the young man encounters Teen, a lonely, despondent girl in need of instant physical comfort (sex) who offers to help in the search, only to discover that the girlfriend, who now goes by the name of Lola, is working as a stripper in Budapest with her new “manager,” played by a magnificently eerie John Cale (who doubles as the film’s composer). After a fallout with Teen, the boy makes his way to Budapest and tracks Lola down in a prostitution house where he confronts her (and his own feelings) in a chilling, choreographed climax.

The film is poetry in motion and especially notable for an inspired sound track and several different characters who dance in and out of the story like the delightfully creepy strangers your parents warned you never to talk to.

— Mary Kerr

Screening Details

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