The Embalmer

Released 2002


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The Embalmer

Movie Summary

Matteo Garrone
The Embalmer is a psychological thriller about the peculiar relationship between a taxidermist and his assistant. Peppino Profeta (Ernesto Mahieux) is a odd looking, fifty year old taxidermist who has spent years honing his craft; on a visit to the zee he meets Valerio (Valerio Foglia Manzillo), a gorgeous young man in his early twenties. The two find they share a passion for animals, and although Valerio does not initially understand the differences in this sentiment, Peppino in time convinces him to come work for him and learn the craft of taxidermy. Enjoying a seemingly endless supply of finances due to some apparent dealings with the Mafia, Peppino showers his young apprentice with lavish nights on the town, complete with hookers and late night orgies, but what the clueless Valerio does not realize is that he is the object of Peppino's desire. When the beautiful young Deborah (Elisabetta Rocchetti) garners Valerio's affection and their escapades turn into love, Peppino reveals his true intention, using all his resources to get the handsome young man back into his life, for better or for worse. Matteo Garrone directs this sinister Italian film that intentionally blurs the lines of the mentor-prot'g' dynamic.moreless


Metacritic Score

  • 80

    Los Angeles Times Kevin Thomas

    From start to finish Garrone charges The Embalmer, a richly visual film, with an effective ambiguity and sense of foreboding.

  • 80

    Variety David Rooney

    Director Matteo Garrone's measured approach and soulfully humane focus combine to dignify the characters, allowing the tale of solitude, longing and sorrow to inch quietly under th...

  • 70

    The New York Times Stephen Holden

    The screenplay evokes this psychosexual power struggle with perfect accuracy and finely tuned performances.

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