Satantango (1994)
December 2, 2019 2:45 PM - Subscribe

Bela Tarr’s seven hour epic of 1990s rural Hungary. Residents of a collapsing collective farm scheme about what to do with a large cash payment. Plans change when they discover that Irimias, a former co-worker who they thought was dead, is coming back to the village.

CW: animal cruelty. Bela Tarr said that a veterinarian was present during filming.

The restored version is in a limited theater release and a special edition Blu-ray is coming soon. Catch it in the theater if you can, though, because so much of the pleasure is in the immersion and there are no real life intrusions to distract you from finishing.
posted by mrcrow (2 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I love this film. One of the things that fascinated me is how Tarr will hold a single long take for a long time but will direct your attention to vignettes within that wider shot. The tavern sequence is a pretty good example of this. The way he draws your attention for a while to this table or those people by the bar is, in its way a reframing within the larger frame.

I know the length scares people off, but because of the way he sticks with an idea and turns it over and over, you don't have to take in every second. You sort of experience it as it washes over you and soaks in.

And people are going to mention the extended shot of them walking down a street while garbage blows around them. They should! It's like a filmic tone poem that works so well you can show it to people out of context and they'll still be drawn in.

The end, where they all sign on to the obvious scam, simply because they need to believe it is heartbreaking.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:50 PM on December 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

Those long takes are just astounding. They made the film seem shorter, oddly. I find it hard to describe the film because what sounds boring is actually gorgeous and compelling. After seeing it I understood the praise from other filmmakers. That early shot of sunrise through the window was so beautiful. The entire sunrise!

Heartbreaking is the word for it. Watching Irimias play with them by refusing to take the money was brutal. I tried to figure out the exchange rate for the money he gave them when he sent them away. I think it was like $17.

Speaking of the bar, we chanted és bátottam és bátottam és bátottam afterwards!
posted by mrcrow at 7:06 PM on December 3, 2019

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