Satantango ★★★★

The strange thing is there is nothing to fear about freedom. Order, on the other hand, can often be frightening.

For those that would be curious, off the bat, want to say that I was not able to watch this all in one sitting. Split it about in half, did what I needed to do while watching it, from eating to using the bathroom and such. (Let me say that you haven't lived until you're watching a Bela Tarr movie while pissing.) My primary take with Satantango in terms of its quality is for me to say that, in my own opinion, I do definitely think Werckmeister Harmonies is a better movie, but this is still without a shadow of a doubt a very good movie. Take it to mean whatever you will, but the seven hour plus runtime, while certainly still long, did not feel like that. At times, the film puts you in a trance, time becomes something foreign. At other times, scenes, moments, the actions of characters are intentionally elongated. You have to live with them in that moment, and said moment is going to be as long as it needs to. My favorite sequence in Satantango, what I imagine it gets its name from in some way, is an extended dance sequence around its middle I want to say where it's what I have to imagine is at least fifteen minutes of folks doing the tango, playing music, and drinking. It's really lovely to get something like that within a movie that also emphasizes grit, wind, mud, and trash prominently. I think that this film therefore most succeeds as a tale of showing the light and the dark of man. Not in the way where it's often gone about in film where it's a "light at the end of the tunnel" situation. No, not that. The light moments, these times where we can either do the tango or pet a cat are great. But, when we submerge ourselves in darkness or have to confront death and suffering, the darkness is overwhelming. It consumes you. Life and death are dancing.


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