Movies that are slightly off.
In a small, dilapidated village in 1990s Hungary, life has come to a virtual stand-still. The Autumn rains have started. A few of the villagers expect to receive a large cash payment that evening, and then plan to leave. Some want to abscond earlier with more than their fair share of the money. However they hear that the smooth-talking Irimias, whom they thought had died, is returning. They are apprehensive that he will take all their money in one of his grandiose schemes to keep the community going.
A REVIEW FOR MY #1 FAVORITE FEATURE FILM OF MY ENTIRE EXISTENCE, AND MAYBE FOREVER WITH A 99.5% PROBABILITY.
Don't read it as a review, but as a magazine article. This is the longest thing I have ever written about one single film, but it is also the only review that made me cry out of sentiment while constructing it.
Before starting to construct a modest, fully developed essay about Béla Tarr's Sátántangó, let's make a nostalgic resume about some of the most wonderful experiences cinema has offered throughout its history. German Expressionism represented the pinnacle of Berlin's technical vision and resulted in the most visually captivating and thought-provoking classic masterpiece up to a hair-rising degree. After the Second World…
Cinema undiluted, yet clouded; quintessential, yet corrupted; lucid, yet vague; high-minded, yet smothered in dirty shapes, postured to perfection. Designed to transport, to form a familiar, albeit foreign environment for its viewers through patient, sincere and expressive manipulation of audiovisual details, resulting in a pure-form, sensory-cinema experience. Indeed, Satantango is meticulously crafted to shift its viewers from their (position in a chair, or) place in reality, into the gut of a nonentity-like vehicle, slowly drifting, but at the same time quickly catapulting through the process of a bleak, syncopated, rhythmic flit with the dark heart of a total eclipse. In essence, caliginosity and crepuscule as an unfathomable, esoteric and profoundly inexplicable display of medium-mastery. And, in the end, one of the human race's single greatest accomplishments, both inside and outside the field of artistic creation.
An absolute masterpiece from Bèla Tarr, who really does prove he's one of the greatest directors of all time. Seven long hours pass beautifully, each of the 157 shots in the film precisely framed and captured to perfection. If I were to highlight only one sequence in this absolute fucking classic of all cinema, it would be the final 30 minutes, which are among the creepiest I've ever seen in a movie and leave a lasting impression that provokes nightmares and chills. Those thirty minutes alone make it one of the best films I have ever seen.
When people ask me why I love cinema so much, I spend a lot of time thinking about an answer. Usually I have nothing.
Now I can say one word: Satantango.
Satantango is why I love cinema.
Once caught in the paradigm of watching, rating, reviewing, talking about a film with friends, it becomes a rare occurence that within a films run-time you will forget about these supposed obligations, and become totally swept up in what's happening on screen. It's an even rarer feat for a seven hour long film like Satantango to manage this; from the moment it takes hold of you, it has you. It's one of the few experiences in cinema - and I've felt it…
Throughout my experience with cinema as an art form I have come across a handful a films that affect me in a variety of ways. A film like 2001: A Space Odyssey was able to show me the transcendent ideas films have to offer. Paris, Texas was able to show me the beauty in human connection and a truth behind what a relationship is. Dancer in the Dark is a film that gave me an insight into the horrors of intimate death. Come and See, Last Year at Marianbad, It's Such a Beautiful Day, Paths of Glory and Magnolia are all films that has taught me the language of cinema and the power behind the dialogue between an artist and…
I always used to think people who say they genuinely 'like' Satantango are just lying to catch a little shine, or because otherwise what was the point of sitting through those 450 slow minutes? Its difficult to just simply dislike or disregard a movie you have invested so much of your time in but as it turns out, Bela Tarr's mammoth Satantango really is pretty great. So great actually that it probably deserves an even higher rating than this but I did find it difficult to really connect with its story and find something to latch onto in the way some others have. I also feel it was a bit overextended in parts and in those moments I started to…
Let me spare you the superlatives as I'm sure you're tired of them. I just wanted to share a couple of observations:
-I've just rewatch this after a few years from watching it first: I thought it would be a grueling task at times, but curiously enough it was easier this time around, because the first time you just wanna know what the fuzz is all about and it's exasperating to wait for the feature to unfold. When you know the narrative there is no hurry, and can actually enjoy it.
-Even if it's seven odd hours long it doesn't feel that long because it is a story that by industry standards would take 90 minutes to tell, instead Tarr…
5 is not enough this transcends everything
edit: i'm coming back to update this review because three days later this film is still haunting me on a deeper level than anything i've ever seen. this film gives me feelings that are beyond what i can describe in words and i seriously believe that this will go down as one of the most important experiences i'll ever have with film. i wish it wasn't so difficult to get people on board with such a long movie but if you're considering making the dive it is so so so so worth it. just drop EVERYTHING and let yourself get immersed. don't worry about picking up on every little plot detail.. the mystery…
Top 50 Showdown! www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oq531THihSg
Today was a beautiful day. The sun was shining and the spring appeared in all his glory - outdoors at least. While the sunbeams were trying to enter my room through the shutters I became a part of another world, a small farm in Hungary which appeared in black and white colors and apparently was plagued by pouring rain. Immediately I got stuck in a depressing landscape, overwhelmed by nihilism and cheerlessness. For nearly eight hours I was absorbing every frame in myself and even now, two hours after watching this masterpiece, I can't let it go. I'm already thinking about to watch it a second time, maybe during a rainy autumn day. Although it really makes no difference.
Where can I go that you will not follow?
Probably the most depressing film I've seen since In Vanda's Room. There is no hope here. There is no triumph of good over evil. There is no solution to the problems that plague life - there is only the haunting realization that no matter what one does, life will eventually crush you. No one will be at your funeral. No one will cry when you pass. Existence is meaningless and there is no hope for tomorrow. Why even get out of bed except to torture yourself with the perpetual lie called life. Bela Tarr - why do you make me feel this way and yet I am still compelled to watch your films?
I deeply apologize for my previous review
Satantango is a two part story: One involves a group of farmers plotting to steal their collective farm's money, but their plan is thwarted when they learn that an ex-coworker, presumed dead, is returning to the village
In the second part: At the fall of communism, The farmers are looking for their place in this new Hungary
Somewhere a doctor, now alone, is regretting that he was mean to his nurse.
The Soviets used to say that editing was cinema. With this in mind, is Satantango cinema? Let's consider that art is the imitation of life? I assumed that this film was shot using real location, avant-garde filmmaking, and real people as the…
For me, it's a film about looking, about watching, about viewing, much more than a film about the people it shows. It's a movie about desire, about needs and wishes and how cold they make people and therefor the world they live in. It's a film rather inspired by life, a life melted down to it's cruel basics, than inspired by story-telling. And last but not least, it's a film about rain, cold thick ruthless rain, with all the metaphorical layers it comes with. For me, it also was much more a story of how people treat each other generally, about types that humans can become, than a story of a specific political system, even if, of course, it portrays capitalistic behavior in a communist system.
Review & Interpretation published at Aesthetics of the Mind:
Tarr’s poetic vision, a realism so uncanny, so surreal, so alive, is realized in each and every frame of the film, only minorly slighted by Tarr’s undeniable social-satirical agenda. This affectation of his work, which is exceedingly present in his early films, is nearly overcome in Sátántangó, a film which seems to demarcate Tarr’s transcendence to the purely cinematographic—purely poetic cinema—that is found in his final two features, Werckmeister Harmonies and The Turin Horse.
Sátántangó is a monumental cinematic achievement. It uses the art of cinematography, poetry, and literature to convey an image of the experiencing of life, an image which seeks to contain within its form the very depths of space and time, ephemerality and eternity, being and nothingness. There is perhaps no other film more formally daring, more patient and resolute, more wholly encapsulating than Sátántangó.
99/100 – Masterful
Got it's moments.
But no matter how I twist it and turn it, SATANTANGO is more titillating than pessimistic, more attractive and posing than philosophical or artistic; like with all of Bela Tarr's work it shows just how little there is to be found in classic existentialism and that same old boring Nietzschean boo-hoo. It's seven hours. It could have been seventy. Or seven minutes.
Tarr's films are comedies, really, because they are to be watched for delight, they're near impossible to either take seriously or emerge into as anything else as beautiful artifice (where the same points are proven over and over again) and most importantly his characters (and his view of them) are pathetic and their fates meaningless.…
All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. An easy way of seeing how…
I have been (and will continue) tinkering with this description because no words seem to be able to express exactly…