Jason Huang (黃擎元)’s review published on Letterboxd:
Double feature with Shoah.
nah just kidding fuk that shit lmao
I honestly don't know if I would have enjoyed this film as much if I didn't watch it with a friend. We split it into three viewings based on the intermissions, and by the end of it, my mind was numb. I straight up had no brain cells left.
The cinematography is bleakly beautiful. The desolate black-and-white shots of emptiness are strangely haunting, and I genuinely loved the second act of the film. Estike's character arc was extremely compelling, and I actually felt... some emotion while watching her section.
In general, you really just lose any sense of time while watching this film. Like a tango, the film takes six steps forwards, and six steps back. Things are already mostly filmed in real-time (so you literally see people walk from one place to another with no cuts... holy shit). But then, it's later revealed that some scenes are just repeated from a different perspective. It really messes with your head, and it can be frustrating sometimes when the pacing is already so lethargic just to realize that the film is twice as slow as you thought it was.
Instead of a film, Satantango feels very much like an experience. If you allow yourself to get immersed in the film, eventually you feel like you're inhabiting the setting of the film. After long enough, I just got used to the pacing. I would genuinely be surprised every time a single shot wasn't at least three minutes long. It's a really intimate setting, and you feel like you get familiar with almost every character (except for Irimias... still not completely sure what his motives are... if that even matters to the "story").
Admittedly, I do not find this film to be a masterpiece as a lot of film lovers do, but I'm definitely glad I watched it even though I have some issues with it. I really don't think the movie had a strong conclusion; maybe it made sense thematically, but I'm definitely not advanced enough in film knowledge to comprehend everything the movie was trying to say. Additionally, I honestly found the movie... less than engaging at times, and I'm still unsure what the narration at the end of each chapter added to the film. Will do more research on this.
Overall, it was still a journey worth embarking on, even if I thought it peaked in the second act during the ten-minute dance sequence. I swear if Kelemen said "plodding" one more time, I was gonna flip shit. This is one of the funniest shots in the movie though.
"I should literally get an associates degree in film at minimum just by watching this movie." - friend who watched it with me.