Nathan’s review published on Letterboxd:
Slight upgrade. One of my favorites of the decade, and I continue to see it as an almost supernaturally well-sustained existential black comedy. The aesthetics — the photography, the camera movements, the detail — are frankly above reproach to me, ticking virtually all of my cinematic fetish boxes.
I wrote something quite long (and badly formatted) after I first saw it (spoiler warning) and still agree with the bulk of it. Some minor updates and non-updates to that piece:
- I was then unfamiliar with Jeanne Dielman and unaware of this film’s obvious debt and homage to it. This also reinforces my need to revisit that film.
- I still haven’t seen Tarr’s other work. Almost don’t want to add any complication to what a pure and immersive out-of-time experience I find this one to be but I will get round to his other works.
- If anything the film’s humor seems more pronounced to me on subsequent viewings. I truly think the shot of the two characters and their horse arduously crossing over the hill to get away, disappearing behind the horizon, then turning around and reappearing and heading back home without a cut is one of the funniest moments in modern cinema.
- As I said in the longer essay, this is one of the shortest 2.5-hour movies I’ve seen. The various individual scenes are so hypnotic I really don’t sense the time passing. It probably helps that every frame is gorgeous. Cinema!!!!
- First time I saw this was on my laptop; not just any laptop, one of those old Dell minis! (Even slower than The Turin Horse, don’t recommend.) Each time since the screen has gotten a little bigger and I’m hoping eventually I find a way to view it theatrically, preferably with multiple angry walkouts to complete the experience.
- I want to read Béla Tarr’s NYT op-ed about comic book movies.